Royal Bank of Scotland has appointed investment bank UBS to manage the sale of 316 branches after Santander pulled out of an acquisition deal.
Santander walked away from the deal last month after delays held up the transfer of the branches.
The Sunday Telegraph reports that RBS chief executive Stephen Hester has asked UBS to assess a number of options for the assets, which must be sold by December 2013 in accordance with European competition rules. The report says Hester is keen to speed up the sale given the complication Lloyds has faced with the sale of its “Project Verde” branches.
The initial package contained 1.8m customers, £21.7bn of deposits and 316 branches, but was heavily skewed towards a significant concentration of small and medium sized business accounts.
Virgin Money, JC Flowers and Nationwide Building Society are all thought to be bidding for the package, but it is expected RBS will receive substantially less than the £1.65bn Santander was to pay for the business.