RBS shares shot up more than 6 per cent in early trade, to 256.8p, after the bank reached a preliminary deal with HM Treasury and the European Commission that means it will no longer need to sell the division, the Telegraph reports.
The bank, which is 73 per cent owned by the UK taxpayer, was ordered to sell the network, which is made up of 314 branches, as a condition of its state bailout in 2008.
The new plan, reported at the end of last week, will see RBS deliver a fund, administered by an independent body, that challenger banks can access to increase their business banking capabilities.
It will also provide funding for challenger banks to “help them incentivise SMEs to switch their accounts from RBS pain in the form of ‘dowries’ to eligible challenger banks”.
The proposed plan will also see RBS granting customers of challenger banks access to its branch network, and an independent fund to invest in fintech.
Ross McEwan, RBS chief executive, said: “Today’s proposal would provide a path to increased competition in the SME market place.
“If agreed, it would deliver an outcome on our EC State Aid divestment obligations more quickly and with more certainty than undertaking a difficult and complex sale and would provide much needed certainty for customers and staff.”