Santander UK and Virgin Money are preparing to bid for Williams & Glyn, the bank due to be spun out of Royal Bank of Scotland.
Sky News reports the two banks are the organisations mentioned in a statement issued today that referred to a “number of informal approaches” for its Williams & Glyn business.
The new bank – which will have more than 300 branches – has to be sold by RBS by the end of 2017 under an agreement between the Government and the EU.
W&G will have 1.8 million customers, net loans and advances worth £20bn and customers deposits of £24bn.
RBS is planning to auction W&G next year prior to a float. It is thought the new lender will be valued at around £2bn.
Santander UK pulled out of exclusive talks to buy W&G as recently as 2012.
Santander and Virgin declined to comment.
RBS chief executive Ross McEwan says: “Separating out the Williams & Glyn business is a complex process, but we remain focused on meeting our state aid obligation, achieving full divestment by the end of 2017, and reaching the best outcome for shareholders, customers and staff.”