Stephen Hester, chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland, told Property Week that though the bank will be ‘pulling back’ in terms of property lending, it intends to keep its core relationship.

Property Week’s Property Personality of the Year, said it was clear the bank ‘did too much’ and ‘made some errors’ meaning the bank would have to do less corporate lending to the sector.

He also warned that a quick bounce out of the recession is unlikely, and the industry will have to be prepared for a hard ‘number of years.’

However, he said that property is an ‘essential good’ and confidence will return to the market with the ‘well prepared and smart’ people in the industry likely to do very well when it does.

Stephen Hester talking to David Doyle