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Alternative remedies approved

EC frees RBS from selling Williams & Glyn

Royal Bank of Scotland’s alternative plan to offloading the Williams & Glyn business has been accepted by the European Commission.

It means the bank will provide an alternative set of remedies to settle its remaining state aid commitments which were imposed as condition by Brussels following the bank’s rescue by the taxpayer. RBS had been expected to sell a parcel of branches that were to be bundled up into a new bank under the revived Williams & Glyn brand.

The new remedies include promoting competition in the market for banking services to small firms, a £425m Capability and Innovation Fund that will grant funding to a range of competitors in the UK banking and financial technology sectors; and £350m to enable easier account switching.

An Independent Body will be established to administer the package of measures, paid for by an upfront contribution of £20m.

Ross McEwan (pictured), RBS chief executive, said: “We are pleased that we now have final approval from the European Commission for the alternative remedies package. This allows us to resolve our final state aid divestment obligation and brings welcome clarity for our customers and staff.

“It also builds on the progress we have made already this year in resolving our major legacy issues through reaching a settlement with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and resolving the 2008 Rights Issue litigation.

“We remain committed to resolving our last remaining major legacy issue, the investigation into our historic US RMBS activities.”

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