Virgin Money is considering making an offer for the 316 Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) branches that have gone up for sale.
That is according to a person familiar with the matter, who has told Reuters the financier is "very interested" in analyzing the benefits of taking on these premises from its 82 per cent state-owned counterpart.
On Friday (12 October), it emerged that Santander had withdrawn from an agreement it struck with RBS more than two years ago to purchase the branches for a fee of around £1.65 billion ($2.6 billion).
The Spanish bank indicated the decision to pull out had been made on the basis that the process was taking too long to complete due to issues such as IT problems, but RBS chairman Philip Hammond has told reporters in Tokyo that these may not be the only reasons, as "IT challenges always get overcome".
However, Virgin Money is now looking into the possibility of making a bid as it seeks to expand further after its purchase of Northern Rock in 2011.
By Gary Cooper