Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Canadians eye RBS's US bank

RBS owns US bank Citizens, which is being pursued by a Canadian outfit

One of Canada's biggest banks has stepped up its pursuit of Royal Bank of Scotland's American retail bank Citizens, it was reported today.

The interest from TD Bank comes amid speculation that a sale could be brought forward under Chancellor George Osborne's threatened break-up of RBS into "good" and "bad" banks, the Sunday Times said.

Citizens, which is worth around £8 billion, is currently scheduled for a stock market float in 2015 as part of RBS's current strategy.

With Mr Osborne expected to reveal whether he intends to press ahead with a split in the next few weeks, some analysts believe there is little chance RBS will be allowed to continue in its current form.

Citizens is one of the biggest banks in the wealthy northeast region of the United States. It has about £60 billion of deposits and 1,400 branches.

Regulatory restrictions mean it is too big to be bought by one of the country's big retail banks, such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch or Wells Fargo.

However it could be transformational for one of the country's second-tier banks, with US Bancorp and PNC among those thought to be looking at a bid.

Bharat Masrani, TD's chief executive elect, reportedly made guarded comments about the bank's interest in Citizens at a banking conference last month. His remarks implied that an informal approach may have already been rebuffed.

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