RBS could abandon the sale of its Williams & Glyn unit, under government plans, after struggling to offload the small-business lender.
The Treasury said RBS would instead provide £750m of initiatives to boost competition in UK business banking. RBS had been ordered by the European Union to sell the unit by the end of 2017 to address competition concerns. The bank failed to sell the business to Santander last year and talks with Clydesdale Bank also stalled. RBS chief executive Ross McEwan said the new plan would deal with the state-owned bank’s EU obligations “more quickly and with more certainty than undertaking a difficult and complex sale”.
The EU commission still needs to approve the plan, submitted by the UK government. The Williams & Glyn brand disappeared in 1985 after being replaced by the RBS brand, but the unit continues to be an important lender for small and medium sized businesses. The resurrected Williams & Glyn business would have had 300 branches and about 1.8 million customers.