ROYAL Bank of Scotland is to change its name to NatWest Group as it tries to break with its toxic past – but the decision by new chief executive Alison Rose has sparked fury.

Rose said the rebranding of RBS – still partly owned by the taxpayer – was because 80% of its customers bank with the NatWest brand rather than through RBS branches, and bosses said it would have no impact on customers or staff.

The name has been in existence since the bank was founded in 1727.

Chairman Howard Davies said: “The essential reason for this is as the bank has evolved from the financial crisis and the bailout, we have focused on the NatWest brand.

“We have exited a lot of the international business which were not profitable. That was branded RBS and that's gone.

“It really makes no sense for us to continue to be called RBS. It was designed for a global group of brands, which we no longer are."

He said the registered office will remain in Edinburgh, with no plans for “unscrewing any brass plaques at this point”, although he admitted a second independence referendum in Scotland could change this.

The decision sparked anger on social media, with Grouse Beater writing on Twitter: “Tax payer-owned disaster prone Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is to change its name to NatWest later in 2020. The move forms part of a major re-branding by new chief executive Alison Rose, the company announced.

“Yes, a name change will expunge its venal past.”

GrievanceMonkey said on the same platform: “After the SNP blame literally everything on Westminster, our national bank is to be rebranded ‘NatWest’, which stands for National WESTMINSTER.

“You couldn't make it up.”

Douglas Hepburn tweeted: “Been with the bank all my working life . But cannot agree with the Name change to NatWest. RBS is a Scottish institution ffs totally wrong name choice.”

And James MacK added: “Very disappointed, angered and let down at the group name change. RBS Group has gone through highs and lows now you want to consign it to the history books. Disgrace.”