SANTANDER UK is reported to be mulling over a £2 billion bid for the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks.

The Spanish-owned group saw a deal to buy 316 branches from Royal Bank of Scotland collapse last year. It is said executives in London and Madrid have been weighing up a bid for Clydesdale for several months.

A Santander UK spokesman said yesterday the bank's focus remains "organic growth".

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Clydesdale's parent National Australia Bank has previously looked at selling its UK operations, but was unable to find a buyer willing to meet the asking price.

NAB has implemented a turnaround plan at Clydesdale which will see around 1400 jobs cut by the end of 2015 and a portfolio of bad commercial property loans moved onto the parent company's balance sheet.

Last week, Credit Suisse analysts suggested NAB could enhance its stock market value through a flotation of its UK business.