Two firms said interested in RBS U.S. unit

Royal Bank of Scotland has had contact regarding the possible sale of its U.S. retail business Citizens with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group has also considered a bid, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Reuters reports that RBS said in November it would speed up a planned stock market flotation of Citizens in New York, aiming to start the process in the second half of 2014 and to fully sell the business by the end of 2016.

RBS said on Monday that plan remained unchanged and declined to comment on whether it had held talks with Sumitomo. Chief Executive Ross McEwan had previously indicated that, while the bank was planning for an initial public offering (IPO), it was open to approaches from potential buyers.

Both MUFG, Japan's largest banking group, and SMFG, the No. 3 banking group, have signalled an openness to consider a bid for Citizens, but there are significant hurdles in both cases, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.

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RBS in contact with SMFG over Citizens sale; MUFG Mulls bid

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