There’s speculation that the Royal Bank of Scotland may have to sell off Citizens Bank as part of its deal with government regulators. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.
RBS is in fresh talks with officials at the British Treasury and the European Commission, as the UK government attempts to reshape the country’s banking industry. RBS is one of three massive banks bailed out by British taxpayers during the financial crisis, and is now state-owned.
The bank says it may be forced to divest extra parts of its business, and though RBS itself has not confirmed this, there is speculation that the sell-off may include Rhode Island based Citizens, RBS’s only retail banking arm in the US. Citizens has about 50 branches in Connecticut and employs 2,400 people throughout the northeast, mid-Atlantic and mid-West.
Reports in the British press say that the European Union’s competition commissioner is pressing for the sale of Citizens, but that RBS CEO Stephen Hester has so far resisted that demand. RBS has its US operations headquarters in Stamford – in a building completed only in June of this year. Earlier in 2009, the bank repeated its commitment to its Stamford presence despite the crisis gripping the parent company.