Yet the government has a number of important reasons for getting RBS off its hands, even at a loss.
"Capital in RBS is going to be much stronger when they get through the restructuring. When they get there, they'll have the ability to start paying dividends and doing all the things that normal banks do, and that should be a reason to buy the government shares," Sandy Chen, banks analyst at Cenkos, who has a buy rating on RBS, told CNBC.
Selling off RBS also means that it will be away from governmental control before the 2020 election.
And don't forget that RBS is a big play on the health of the U.K. economy, which may not be quite as ship-shape in a few years.
"Almost certainly, between now and 2020, we will have a recession – and it's hard to sell bank shares in a recession, so why not do that beforehand?" Browne pointed out.