New banking group NBNK is set to launch a bid to purchase 632 branches from Lloyds, it has emerged.
Lloyds Banking Group had previously agreed an exclusivity period with the Co-operative for the sale of these premises, but this timeframe has now expired meaning it can enter negotiations with alternative buyers.
European Union policymakers have ordered officials at Lloyds to sell these assets as part of its payback for the government aid the financier received at the height of the economic crisis four years ago.
And the lender has now confirmed NBNK - a group established in August 2010 to challenge the traditional UK banking heavyweights - could finalise an agreement for the branches, as long as the organisation gets regulatory approval.
A spokesman from NBNK commented: "We have maintained a constructive dialogue with the Financial Services Authority and are confident we will be able to meet the regulatory criteria laid down."
By Gary Cooper