British Chancellor George Osborne may sell state-owned shares in Royal Bank of Scotland at a loss as part of plans for an accelerated sale of government holdings in the sector, a newspaper reported.
Finance ministry officials were examining plans for an early sale - at a loss to the taxpayer - of RBS shares and a discounted, 4-billion-pound ($6.18 billion) sale of Lloyds stock to the public, the Sunday Times said.
Osborne said in January he would need to decide quickly about a sale of the government's RBS stake after Thursday's national election, which the Conservatives won, but would need "a lot of persuading" to give up on the principle that the government would at least get its money back.
The government owns 80 percent of RBS, which was rescued with a 45 billion-pound state bailout during the financial crisis. Britain has already sold some of its stake in Lloyds, which was similarly rescued, and plans to sell more.
The Sunday Times said sources at RBS said the "mood music" from the finance ministry had changed in recent months and officials were warming to the idea of allowing a partial stake to be sold at a loss.