CMA to investigate RBS challenger bank sale

The Williams & Glyn business consists of 307 bank branches in the UK, including the RBS branches in England and Wales, and NatWest branches in Scotland.

The government expects Williams & Glyn to be able to act as a “strong competitive challenger” to the incumbent banks, prompting the request for the CMA’s view.

As part of its role in deciding whether to authorise Williams & Glyn, the Prudential Regulatory Authority will also assess whether the bank has a viable and sustainable business model.

In addition to the work being undertaken by the PRA, the government is asking the CMA to assess the likely impact on competition of the new bank, taking account of changes made to its business plan and shape and preliminary feedback from the PRA.

The CMA will report its findings in July 2015. HM Treasury and RBS will then consider the CMA’s findings and agree appropriate next steps.

Under the terms of the revised state aid decision by the European Commission of April 2014, in return for the support which RBS received from HM Treasury in 2008 and 2009, RBS is required to divest the Williams & Glyn business by 31 December 2017.

This review will not alter the current divestment timetable and RBS has said it is committed to divesting the Williams & Glyn business by 31 December 2017.