Saturday, 18 February 2017

Treasury May Allow RBS To Avoid Selling 300 Branches


Royal Bank of Scotland could be released from a demand imposed by Brussels to sell off 300 branches as a result of proposals made by the Treasury.

The new plan to meet state aid requirements will cost RBS £750m but remove a significant hurdle facing the bailed-out bank if it wins support in the EU.

The disposal programme was imposed on RBS as part of its £45bn bailout, and the bank’s chief executive, Ross McEwan, insisted it would still allow it to comply with the commitment to increase competition for small business customers.

The UK’s decision to leave the EU led to speculation that the government would try to release RBS from the obligation to sell the branches, which were to be known as Williams & Glyn, although the Treasury insisted it would still meet the state aid rules.

The announcement came after the stock market closed on Friday and a week before the bank’s results for 2016, which analysts had expected to show a £6bn loss even before the latest £750m hit.

RBS has already spent £1.8bn on attempting to extricate the 300 branches from its existing network, which also includes NatWest.

When the bank announces its figures next week it will report its ninth consecutive loss since 2008 with a cumulative £55bn of losses over the period.



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