MSP launches bid to buy out Bank of Scotland

A bid to raise £6bn to save the Bank of Scotland from being lost within a second merger in seven years is being made by a leading Scottish businessman and a nationalist politician.

The bank became part of HBOS in 2001 when it merged with the Halifax and that company now looks set to merge with Lloyds TSB to avoid becoming a victim of the current chaos in the financial sector.

While that deal is seen by many as a fait accompli, the Scottish National Party MSP Alex Neil and the entrepreneur Jim Spowart, who set up Intelligent Finance, are seeking to bring together Scotland's "banking elders" to make an 11th-hour bid for the institution.

Some of the leading financial lights north of the border, such as the financier Sir Angus Grossart, the former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Sir George Mathewson, and the former Bank of Scotland chief executive Sir Peter Burt, are to be invited to a meeting in the next few days to discuss the move.

The plan would see the bank – founded in 1695 and the oldest surviving commercial bank in the UK – become a separate company again and, its backers hope, ensure the survival of thousands of jobs in Scotland.

Mr Neil, an economist and a member of the Scottish Parliament's finance committee, said: "We should try and explore every avenue. If we can muster this group it would be a very strong and diverse body of senior banking knowledge.

"If successful, they could be the custodians of the Bank of Scotland. It would be another chapter in the bank's incredible history." He admitted it would be a "challenge" but said it was worth finding out if there was a willingness to "do the necessary to put a bid together".

Mr Spowart said it was unthinkable to do nothing while the bank in effect went out of existence.

"We've all enjoyed successful careers in banking, which is one of the jewels in Scotland's crown," he said. "It is vital that we do something positive. We can't just sit back and watch the Bank of Scotland disappear."

The Scottish National Party leader, Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister, accused the British Government of doing just that.

"No country can insulate itself from mergers and takeovers, but very few countries would so idly stand by and allow their oldest, key financial institution to be left in the position that HBOS was left in last week," he said.

Mr Darling said there had been no request for a loan to help HBOS and "frankly, things were way beyond that". "They needed a permanent commercial resolution and that is what we achieved," he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
books...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Sport
Romelu Lukaku scored twice to add to the hat-trick he registered in the first leg in Switzerland
football
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
tv
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Supply Chain Assistant

£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Advisor

£13000 - £13500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Energy Broker & Sales Consultant - OTE £65,000

£18000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Long-established Energy Brokers...

Sauce Recruitment: New Media Marketing Manager - EMEA - Digital Distribution

£35000 - £45000 per annum + up to £45,000: Sauce Recruitment: The Internation...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower