RBS could be forced to sell some of its estimated £15m art collection amid pressure to cash in non-core assets.
The state-owned bank acquired much of its collection - including works by artists LS Lowry, Anne Redpath, Jack Vettriano, Patrick Caulfield and Peter Howson - following its merger with NatWest in 2000.
RBS staff enjoyed exclusive access to the many pieces hanging on their office walls, but with the closure next year of around 400 of its existing 2,250 banking and insurance branches in England and Wales, the bank will have less space to display its art.
A spokeswoman says: "We will not sell any pieces of art that are of heritage or historical importance. Any decision on sales will be taken with an eye to market conditions to obtain the best value for our shareholders".
There have been calls for government-backed banks to dispose of their collections in ‘firesales' to return money back onto the public balance sheets.
Some banks are already selling off large swathes of their valuable art. In April, Zurich-based UBS shut down its 11-year-old "art banking" unit for wealthy customers to purchase works and build collections.
However RBS' collection is relatively modest compared to those of other financial institutions.
US bank JP Morgan has a collection of around 35,000 pieces, while 53,000 pieces German lender Deutsche Bank has one of the largest corporate art collections in the world with a value in excess of £75m.
UBS' 45,000 piece collection is estimated to be worth at least $150m, includes works by big names such as Lucian Freud, Roy Lichtenstein, Candida Hofer, Edward Ruscha and Julian Schnabel hanging on its walls in Zurich, London and New York.
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