Santander set to grab 318 Royal Bank of Scotland branches
The inside word appears to suggest that Santander, the Spanish banking giant, is on the verge of acquiring 318 Royal Bank of Scotland branches put up for sale by the company. Despite earlier rumours that the company had bid of around £1.8 billion it seems that the final asking price will be around £1.65 billion with Santander the only bidder left at the table. However, it looks as though the deal may well take up to 18 months to complete!
Under strict UK and European banking regulations it is likely to take up to 18 months for the acquisition to be finalised and the transfer of the branches completed. This does seem rather bizarre when you consider that the European Union forced Royal Bank of Scotland to put these branches of the sale due to the fact the company had received significant state aid from the UK authorities. It will be interesting to see any comments from the competition authorities but ultimately with Santander the only bidder at the table the deal should effectively flow-through.
The sale of the branches will mean a massive difference to the future makeup of Royal Bank of Scotland which has paid a price for significant risks taken in the past. The Royal Bank of Scotland we see today will be very different to the Royal Bank of Scotland we will see in 18 months time.
UK banks continue to fight charges case
While it has very much been pushed into the background of late it has been announced that the major UK banks are set to fight the crucial ruling on overdraft charges which occurred earlier this year. They are currently going to appeal having suggested that the earlier ruling was floored and the OFT is not legally able to implement price restraints under current regulations.
Will we see more mergers in the financial sector?
While the financial sector has been the main recipient of various mergers and takeovers during the last few months there is a feeling that we may well see further mergers and acquisitions in 2009. Many people believe that 2008 saw the top of the mergers and acquisitions market as a means of ensuring the smooth running of the financial markets at a time when liquidity and capital assets were under...Read More
Virgin Money announces acquisition of Church House Trust
Despite intense speculation that Virgin Money had already agreed a deal with the UK government for the acquisition of Northern Rock, the company has today surprised the markets with the purchase of Church House Trust, a small regional bank, for an initial outlay of £12.3 million. While this is obviously tiny compared to the likes of Northern Rock and other UK banking institutions, it does secure...Read More
UK Banks could be fined for mistreating customers
In a move which has come about because of a European directive, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) is set to take over regulation of UK payments from the Banking Code Standards Board. The current system is purely voluntary although under the EU directive a statutory system will be put in place which will see UK banks fined if they "fail their customers". But will this actually work?
Self-regulation comes to an end for the UK banking sector
In what is seen by many as a serious threat to the self regulatory framework of the UK financial sector, the government has today introduced a bill to Parliament which will see banks fined and potentially have their assets frozen if they mistreat their customers. Quite what is meant by "mistreating their customers" remains to be seen but the UK government has certainly taken on more of a hardball...Read More