Sir Fred Goodwin, the chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, insisted today that he was the right person to take the lender forward despite revealing one of the biggest losses in UK banking history.
The owner of Natwest made the £691m loss, its first in 40 years, after the credit crisis left it nursing writedowns of £5.9bn.
Addressing the question of whether he was still the right man to do the job, he said: "I'm very focused on what we're doing here and what's right for our customers, shareholders and people. We've steered it through good times and we'll steer it through these times."
RBS swung to a £691m loss in the six months June 30, compared with a £5.1bn pre-tax profit in the first half last year.
"There is no one here that thinks that is in any way, shape or form satisfactory," Sir Fred said.
The bank has been hit by its exposure to the credit markets, which increased when it spent £10bn as lead partner on the acquisition of the Dutch bank ABN Amro at what turned out to be the top of the market last year.
In June RBS raised £12bn from its shareholders to shore up its balance sheet through a surprise record rights issue.
It is now cutting costs across the business, making savings "ranging from headcount reductions to economies as mundane as cutting the price paid for printer cartridges," the company said.
RBS shares have fallen by 61pc in the past year, but were up 1pc to 236p this morning after the bank had already warned the City to expect the huge writedown.
Looking ahead, Sir Fred, said: "It's a brave person that would try and predict this market through to the end of this year. The headwinds out there are not abating yet but there's business to be done."