Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has confirmed that it is pulling out of an asset insurance scheme backed by the UK state. The move brings it closer to the return of privater sector control.

The bank entered the Asset Protection Scheme in 2009 and have paid the UK government £2.5 billion to cover it against losses arising from assets built up during its expansion before the financial crisis.

RBS currently remains 82% government owned. Their recovery was boosted by the flotation of Direct Line earlier this month.

The bank are currently under pressure to find a new buyer for 316 of their branches after Santander walked away from the deal which was ordered by the European Commission.

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