Goldman Sachs is a shock contender for the loans, alongside distressed debt specialist Lone Star and private equity firm Blackstone.
Lazard is advising RBS on the sale of the assets, which come from the bank’s “non-core” division. Although this represents the “bad” section of the bank, which is being gradually wound down, it is understood the loans are not in default.
First round bids are expected to be submitted within the next two weeks.
Royal Bank of Scotland declined to comment, though a source with knowledge of the matter said the Edinburgh-based bank had not made any decision concerning the sale of the portfolio.
He told City A.M.: “At this stage this is just speculation. The bank hasn’t agreed to any proposals yet.”
The three potential bidders were either not immediately available for comment, or could not immediately be reached for comment.
It is understood Lazard is also considering setting up a scheme through which more than one buyer could take a stake in the loan portfolio.
The move is part of a wider asset sale by the bank, which is 84 per cent owned by the taxpayer after a bailout at the height of the financial crisis.