Bank could attract buyer

Forysth bank emerges as Williams & Glyn suitor

Lord ForsythA small English bank, whose directors include former Scottish Secretary Lord Forsyth, is considering a bid for Williams & Glyn, part of Royal Bank of Scotland, according to a City source.

Secure Trust Bank, a subsidiary of the Arbuthnot Banking Group, is run by former RBS executive Paul Lynam. It is a retail and commercial bank quoted on the Alternative Investment Market. It offers personal loans, savings accounts, as well as business banking products.

Lord Forsyth, an independent non-executive director, was an MP for 14 years and served in Government for 10 years. He is a director of J&J Denholm, chairman of Hyperion Insurance Group, and former deputy chairman of JP Morgan UK and Evercore Partners International. He was appointed to the Privy Council in 1995, knighted in 1997, and joined the House of Lords in 1999.

Secure TrustSecure Trust, based in Solihull in the West Midlands, has increased its portfolio in recent years, acquiring the Everyday Loans Group and the V12 Finance Group in 2012 and 2013 respectively, as well as the trade and certain assets of the Debt Managers Group in 2013.

The European Commission ordered RBS to sell Williams & Glyn as a penalty for the £46bn of state aid it received during the financial crisis.

RBS, still 73% owned by the government, insists that it is on course to float Williams & Glyn and its network of 300 branches, though it was due to sell it to Santander in 2012 until the Spanish lender pulled out.

It has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch for the IPO, but before Christmas it said it was now operating a “twin track” sale and flotation strategy after receiving a number of approaches. Santander was said to have renewed its interest.

The new bank will have 1.8 million customers and the flotation, if it takes place, is scheduled for the end of 2017.

The Williams & Glyn’s name disappeared from British high streets in 1985.  Creating the new bank will cost RBS £1.5 billion.

Further financial information on the sale process will be included in RBS’s full year results announcement on 26 February.

Mr Lynam joined Secure Trust Bank in September 2010, having spent 22 years working for Natwest and RBS. He was the managing director, banking, running RBS/ Natwest’s SME banking business across the UK.

He spent four years as the managing director of Lombard North Central, running the largest asset finance and leasing business in Europe.


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