Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Sunday, 21 September 2008 12:04 UK

Bank buy-out idea floated by MSP

Woman infront of banknote image
It is estimated a Bank of Scotland buyout would cost 6bn

An MSP is to ask an group of elite bankers to make a 6bn bid to save the Bank of Scotland part of HBOS before it is taken over by Lloyds TSB.

SNP's Alex Neil said such a buy-out would keep jobs in Scotland, while also retaining the Bank of Scotland as an independent institution.

The idea was first floated with Mr Neil by banker and entrepreneur Jim Spowart, who set up Intelligent Finance.

The pair now hope to invite five other bankers to a meeting next week.

Those expected to be invited are former Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Sir George Mathewson, leading financier Sir Angus Grossart, Former Bank of Scotland CEO Sir Peter Burt, and former Bank of Scotland managing directors Gavin Masterton and George Mitchell.

Worthwhile challenge

Mr Neil, a member of the Scottish Parliament finance committee, said the bankers have the experience to oversee such a bid.

"These banking elders are very experienced people and between them doing a deal of this size would not be unusual for them," he said.

"All we are trying to do is to get them together to see if any or all of them are willing to do the necessary to put a bid together.

"It is a challenge to do it but we believe it is worth it."

Mr Neil said the first minister had been kept informed but was currently not directly involved.

A spokesman for the first minister said: "The first minister is not involved in any such talks, but the fact they could be happening indicates the wide concern about the need to retain HQ functions and jobs in Scotland, and the anger about the circumstances by which HBOS has been brought down as an independent entity."

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