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A plan by Royal Bank of Scotland to sell more than 300 branches is in trouble after one of the most promising bidders pulled out of talks.

Talks with Spain’s Santander broke down because the two sides could not agree on a price. As part of its bailout in 2008, RBS was given until 2017 to sell the branches.

It attempted to use them to form a new bank under the Williams and Glyn brand but last month, in the face of rising costs, it abandoned that effort.

Since then, RBS has been looking for buyers for the 315 branches and their associated personal and business accounts, and Santander was seen as the front runner.

But the prospect of a further cut in UK interest rates has undermined that deal, as lower rates cut into the profits of High Street banks – making the RBS branches less attractive.

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