RBS chairman Sir Howard Davies has confirmed that the bank would consider moving its headquarters from Edinburgh should a second independence referendum deliver a Yes vote.

He was speaking as new chief executive Alison Rose announced that Royal Bank of Scotland was ditching its name – which dates back to its foundation in 1727 – and rebranding as NatWest Group in a bid to shake off its toxic past. Branches in Scotland will retain the RBS name.

During a conference call with journalists yesterday, Davies was asked if there were any implications for RBS head office in Scotland or jobs as a result of the name change.

He replied: “No, there is not. The registered office remains in Edinburgh, we aren’t unscrewing any brass plaques at this point. As a result of this [name change] there is no change in personnel, so no, it doesn’t have any of those implications.”

READ MORE Name change won’t fix RBS reputation and could alienate Scots

He added: “We have said in the past, in relation to a referendum which we did in 2014 – the policy has not changed – that it would be necessary to look at our location if there were a [vote for] Scottish independence and a separate Scottish central bank etcetera, but not before then. And we have no plans to change that.”

However, MP Tommy Sheppard, the SNP’s Shadow Leader of the House, told The National he was disappointed at the intervention.

He said: “It’s disappointing that Howard Davies is using his position to interfere in a political discussion on Scotland’s future.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “RBS is an iconic brand which has global reach and customers will be reassured the bank has pledged the RBS name will be retained in its business in Scotland and that there will be no impact on jobs or services here.”

Bosses at the taxpayer-owned bank said the name-change had been decided because 80% of its customers banked with the NatWest brand, rather than through RBS branches and it would have no impact on customers or staff. “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,” said Davies.

“We have exited a lot of the international business which was 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.”

RBS was among the banks the government bailed out to the tune of £45.5 billion at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. It is still 62% owned by the taxpayer.

The rebranding is little more than a cosmetic change to remove the stigma attached to its near-collapse during the financial crisis.

It also had to weather storms over the controversial but now disbanded Global Restructuring Group, mortgage mis-selling and the fixing of the Libor rate, the widely used global “benchmark” for short-term interest rates.

Eight years ago RBS also recalibrated its shares to make them look more impressive – jumping from 20p to 200p overnight, although their value remained the same.

READ MORE Furious backlash over plans to change RBS name to NatWest

Rose yesterday unveiled a 5p-a-share special dividend, although the full-year dividend was cut, from 3.5p to 3p.

This means the government, the bank’s biggest shareholder, will receive a payout of nearly £600 million, bringing the total repaid to the taxpayer to £1.7bn so far this year.

This happened because the bank managed to hit an operating profit before tax of £4.2bn – up 26% from £3.4bn in 2018.

However, in a bitter-sweet twist, Rose also announced cost cuts of £250m after the closure of more than 200 branches over the year.

The next step, according to the boss, was to create a “purpose-led” bank, aligning executive pay with targets linked to long-term bonuses.

These include creating 50,000 new businesses by 2023, helping to create 500,000 jobs.

RBS added 75% of jobs would be outside London, with 60% for women, 20% for BAME people and 10% being “social purpose jobs”.

Rose refused to be drawn on any potential job-losses in the year ahead.

“Any job cuts, we will speak to our colleagues first so I won’t be making any comment about that,” she said.

“We have over 800 branches, our mobile banks and access to the Post Office. We think that’s about the right shape and size, but we will continue to evolve that.

“You will see the continuing changing of customers.”