Rival banks eye Royal Bank of Scotland's US retail division Citizens Bank: report

Several rival banks are planning to bid for Royal Bank of Scotland's US retail division Citizens Bank, which could fetch the UK government bailed out bank around £10 billion.

Itau Unibanco, one of Brazil's biggest banks, and Canada's TD Bank are among those reported to be bidding for the Rhode Island-based bank that has 1,500 branches across 12 states in  the US, the Sunday Times yesterday reported.

Others who would show interest in Citizens could be Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, and other foreign banks, said the report.

Stephen Hester, CEO of RBS CEO, recently dispelled rumours that the bank has put Citizen on the block, but the sale could help the bank to buy back part of the government's stake and ease pressure from the UK politicians to sell off its US assets in order to increase lending in the UK.
 
RBS is 83-per cent owned by the UK government after it received the £45.5 billion ($70 billion) bailout - the biggest bailout of any bank in the world - during the global financial crisis in 2008.

It has since cut thousand of jobs, sold several assets, including its aircraft-leasing business, its Galaxy Pub Estate that had 918 pubs in the UK, a controlling 80.01-per cent interest in its credit-card unit Global Merchant Services, 318 branches in the UK and Wales among others.

Citizens, one of the most lucrative assets of the Edinburgh, Scotland-based bank has a £75 billion loan book and reported operating profits of £479 million in 2011.