UK bank sales will bring in new entrants - Darling

LONDON, Nov 1 (Reuters) - The sale of assets by bailed-out British banks to appease EU competition concerns will bring in “perhaps three new entrants” as the government seeks to boost competition, British finance minister Alistair Darling said.

“What I want to do now is begin the process of reform and reconstruction so we have got a safer, more competitive banking system with more high street banks than we have at the moment, with new entrants coming in,” Darling told BBC television in an interview on Sunday.

“I’d hope that you’d have perhaps three new entrants over the next few years.”

A major shake-up of the British banking landscape is expected this week, with part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland RBS.L and Lloyds Banking Group LLOY.L set to announce a string of asset sales to appease EU concerns over billions received in state aid.

Reporting by Michael Holden and Clara Ferreira-Marques