Belfast Telegraph

RBS edging closer to branches deal following Santander offer

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is edging closer to a deal with Santander to sell off a large tranche of its branches.

The Spanish-owned lender has made a formal offer for the network, which is on course to be rebranded Williams & Glyn next year.

However, the deal, which would see more than 300 branches and over a million customers transferred to Santander, is not close to completion and could still fall through.

RBS is expected to reveal more details on Friday, when it updates the City on its half-year results.

The bank was ordered by the European Union to sell off Williams & Glyn by 2017 as a condition of its £45 billion bailout.

A spokesman for Santander said: "Whilst our focus is organic growth, we will continue to analyse opportunities in our core 10 markets where they add value and benefit to our customers and shareholders. That said, we do not comment on rumours or market speculation."

RBS is also expected to lay bare the potential impact of Brexit on Friday, with observers looking for any detail as to how the vote may affect plans to shore up its financial performance in the long term.

Experts believe RBS may be forced to slash costs even further if the Brexit vote triggers a fresh independence referendum in Scotland.