UK agrees S$1.48 bln deal with EU to settle RBS state aid concerns

This file photo taken on Feb 25, 2017 shows a woman walking past a Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) sign in central London.
This file photo taken on Feb 25, 2017 shows a woman walking past a Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) sign in central London.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - The British government said on Wednesday (July 26) that the European Commission had accepted its plans to free Royal Bank of Scotland from its obligation to sell more than 300 branches after the lender's seven-year struggle to meet bailout requirements.

Britain's finance ministry said the European Commission had in principle accepted an alternative set of proposals that mean the bank will fund about 835 million pounds (S$1.48 billion) of measures to help so-called challenger banks and boost competition among lenders.

"It will see RBS fund and deliver a package of measures to improve the UK business banking market and is designed to boost competition, helping small and medium-sized enterprises benefit from greater choice and offers on banking services," the finance ministry said in a statement.

RBS had previously failed to sell a business banking division, Williams & Glyn, to resolve earlier competition concerns after it required the world's biggest banking bailout at the height of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.