RBS kick-starts branch sale with UBS appointment

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Royal Bank of Scotland has appointed investment bank UBS to manage the sale of the 316-branch business rejected by Santander.

Santander walked away from the deal last month after delays held up the transfer of RBS branches, and the bank signalled it was prepared to extend the deadline.

The Sunday Telegraph reports that RBS chief executive Stephen Hester 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 had 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 business accounts.

Virgin Money, JC Flowers and Nationwide Building Society are all thought to be bidding for the package, but it is expected RBS is to receive substantially less than the £1.65bn Santander was to pay for the business.