Here's who could buy the Co-operative Bank

 
Caitlin Morrison
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Branches Of Co-operative Bank To Be Cut By 15 Percent
The Co-operative Bank announced this morning that it was putting itself up for sale (Source: Getty)

The Co-operative Bank has kicked off the week with big announcement: it's put itself up for sale.

The bank said it was seeking a buyer after making "considerable progress implementing its turnaround plan" - the lender famously faced a near collapse in 2013 when it admitted to a £1bn black hole in its finances.

Co-op Bank said it offers an "attractive banking proposition that is differentiated by our values and ethics and is highly valued by our 4m customers", but it also said it expects to report a "significant" loss for the year to 31 December 2016, albeit a smaller loss than it reported the previous year.

Read more: Co-op Bank tells customers it's business as usual

So who's likely to make a play for the bank? Well, the one firm that's been linked with Co-op previously is close rival TSB.

The self-described challenger told the BBC that it would be interested in bidding for the Co-op Bank "if the price was right". Over the years there had been speculation that the Co-op could be approached by TSB once it was fully spun out from former owner Lloyds, which took place in 2015.

Initially, the Co-op Bank was itself interested in buying TSB, and offered Lloyds £750m for the challenger, but the bank was later forced to drop the bid, when the gaps in its balance sheet came to light four years ago, kicking off a chain of crises for the lender.

Read more: Co-op chairman quits in Crystal Methodist crisis

TSB was subsequently acquired by Spanish banking group Sabadell, making it the most recent high street lender to be sold.

Last week, TSB announced it would be closing 29 branches, because its customers were increasingly using online banking. This followed the closure of 25 TSB branches in June last year - whether the bank now wants to take on the Co-op's 105 branches remains to be seen.

TSB declined to comment.

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