Church of England backed RBS bid may mean a new UK ethical bank

Friday, 28 June 2013 02:44

The Church of England is helping to fund a consortium that will bid for hundreds of branches that are being sold by the bailed-out bank, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

This could lead to a new ethical bank challenging the established banking names in the UK.

The Church Commissioners, who are in charge of how the Church of England invests its funds, are planning to help fund a consortium headed by former banker and trade minister Lord Davies that will bid to take over 315 RBS branches.

Other contributors to the consortium are Standard Life and private equity firms Corsair, Centerbridge and RIT Capital.

Rival bids could come from a joint bid by AnaCap Financial Partners and Blackstone as well as 20 asset management firms led by the former finance director of Tesco, Andrew Higginson.

Any investment by the Church of England would have to follow the advice of the Church of England's Ethical Investment Advisory Group, which does not allow investments in companies or banks that would use the funds to back firms that are involved in the sale of pornography, arms or alcohol.

This raises the prospect of another ethical banking option being available on the UK high street.

RBS is being forced to sell the branches by the European Commission due to it having to be bailed out by the UK taxpayer to the tune of £45 billion.

Santander bid for the branches in 2010 and although the bid was accepted the bank withdrew its bid in October 2012.

The Church of England and RBS declined to comment.

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