POLITICS
27/09/2013 10:53 BST | Updated 27/09/2013 10:55 BST

Church Of England Buys 314 RBS Branches In £600m Deal

PA
The Archbishop of Canterbury came unstuck recently with his comments about loans company, Wonga

A Church of England consortium has bought 314 branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland in a £600 million deal.

Church-backed consortium Williams & Glyn's agreed the purchase of the state-backed bank's branches, paying £330m and backed up by a £270m loan from RBS.

RBS group finance director Bruce Van Saun said that deal was a "very competitive process" and it showed that "Williams & Glyn's is a viable and attractive business which will be positioned as a strong, customer-focused challenger bank".

RBS was forced to sell the branches under terms imposed by the EU during its £45bn bailout, which left the taxpayer with an 81% stake.

The consortium includes Corsair Capital, Centerbridge Partners and the Church Commissioners, which manages £5.5 billion of investments for the Church of England. The sold branches are set to use the Williams & Glyn's brand that was last seen in 1986 and be part of an expected flotation on the stock market.

This deal should prove less controversial than the Church of England's investment in payday lender Wonga, which was revealed in July.

Archbishop of Cantebury Justin Welby said: "I was irritated for a few minutes but, you know, these things happen. I understand the business, it's an incredibly complex business."

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