RBS drawing up contingency plans for Williams & Glyn as sale stalls

 
Billy Bambrough
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RBS chief exec Ross McEwan has been locked in negotiations with potential bidders for the unit
RBS chief exec Ross McEwan has been locked in negotiations with potential bidders for the unit (Source: Getty)

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is having to rethink plans to offload its 314-branch strong Williams & Glyn unit as it struggles with the European Commission’s deadline for a sale.

The bank, which is still 73 per cent owned by the taxpayer, is supposed to announce a buyer for its Williams & Glyn network by the end of the year to meet state aid rules following its 2008 financial crisis bailout.

It is understood that RBS is considering what other assets it can sell if no buyer for Williams & Glyn can be found.

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One of the worst case scenarios is that the bank could have to ask its 1.7m Williams & Glyn customers to switch their accounts to another bank as IT issues continue to hamper the sale process.

“We continue to make progress on reaching a solution with regards to our state aid obligations,” RBS said in a statement yesterday.

The bank’s legacy IT system was blamed for the collapse of a deal to sell the branch network to Santander in 2012.

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This year RBS threw out plans to hive off and float the division on the stock market after spending £1.5bn on trying to break Williams & Glyn’s IT network away from the group’s system.

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