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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Royal Bank of Scotland profits triple as the taxpayer owned bank gets smaller

Pedestrians walk past a RBS bank cash machine in London, Aug. 2, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Alastair Grant

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Pedestrians walk past a RBS bank cash machine in London, Aug. 2, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Alastair Grant

LONDON - Royal Bank of Scotland's first-quarter profit more than tripled as the one-time global powerhouse benefited from efforts to transform itself into a smaller institution focused on Britain.

The bank said Friday that net income rose to about 1.2 billion pounds ($2 billion) from 393 million pounds in the year-earlier quarter, a better than expected result. RBS lost 8.7 billion pounds in the fourth quarter last year.

Shares rose 11 per cent on the news to 333.80 pence.

Britain's government saved RBS in 2008 with a 45 billion-pound bailout after its move to become the world's largest bank through a massive spree of debt-fueled acquisitions. The rescue left the taxpayer with an 81 per cent stake.

CEO Ross McEwan says RBS is focused squarely on earning the "trust of our customers."

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