Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC reported a $2.98 billion third-quarter net loss but indicated that loan impairments are "plateauing" and losses may not rise high enough to trigger use of a government plan to insure its toxic assets.

"Our confidence has increased, [and] our belief is that a further, major recession is less likely than it was back in February or even in August," RBS Chief Executive Stephen Hester said on a conference call with reporters on Friday.

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