Canadian bank eyes cross-border raid

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One of Canada’s biggest banks has stepped up its pursuit of Royal Bank of Scotland’s American retail bank Citizens, it was reported yesterday.

The interest from TD Bank comes amid speculation that a sale could be brought forward under Chancellor George Osborne’s threatened break-up of RBS into “good” and “bad” banks, a newspaper said.

Citizens, which is worth around £8bn, is scheduled for a stock market float in 2015 as part of RBS’s current strategy.

With Mr Osborne expected to reveal whether he intends to press ahead with a split in the next few weeks, some analysts believe there is little chance RBS will be allowed to continue in its current form.

Citizens is one of the biggest banks in the wealthy north-east region of the US. It has about £60bn of deposits and 1,400 branches.

Regulatory restrictions mean it is too big to be bought by one of the country’s big retail banks, such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch or Wells Fargo.