George Osborne renewed his commitment to promote more competition in retail banking on Wednesday and asked the UK's antitrust regulator to assess what effect mandatory branch sales by Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland will have on the market.
Lloyds and RBS must dispose of 632 and 315 bank branches respectively, in accordance with European state aid rules after the lenders received bailouts at the height of the financial crisis. Mooted deals by each bank to sell their respective estates to other banks have come unstuck over the past year, with a flotation of each now regarded as the likeliest option.
Earlier in the day the Office of Fair Trading had announced that it would bring forward a study into whether there is sufficient competition in banking services for small businesses.
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