THE owner of Clydesdale Bank has used its annual report to reassure shareholders it remains committed to finding a way to "accelerate an exit" from its UK operations.

National Australia Bank stated it was looking at offloading assets providing a low return in the UK and the United States.

Along with that it intends to press ahead with a sale of its Clydesdale and Yorkshire bank businesses and is looking at several potential scenarios including a flotation.

Writing in the report, the directors said: "The group will examine a broader range of options, including those provided by public markets, to accelerate an exit from UK banking."

NAB's desire to leave the UK, where it employs 7,100 people with 3,700 of those in Scotland, is well known but since Andrew Thorburn took over as chief executive earlier this year he has made it one of his top priorities. Predecessor Cameron Clyne has admitted he spent several years trying to engineer an exit from the UK but struggled to find buyers for Clydesdale and Yorkshire.

NAB's UK businesses have dragged on wider group performance and continue to put aside millions of pounds for customer redress in areas such as payment protection insurance and complex business loans.

While challenger banks Virgin Money and TSB have both been listed in London this year they did not have legacy mis-selling issues to deal with. NAB's annual report gave an update on the conduct issues it is facing in the UK stating further provisions may be needed.

On PPI, where a £515 million provision is noted, it said factors such as the volume of new claims and the numbers which will be upheld is likely to have an impact. Clydesdale has already confirmed thousands of claims it had previously rejected are being reviewed again under a new handling procedure. In the annual report, NAB said the final amount required to settle potential PPI liabilities remains "uncertain".

On the business loans, where a £362 million provision was noted, it said: "The group will continue to reassess the adequacy of the provision for this matter and the assumptions underlying the provision calculation at each reporting date based upon experience and other relevant factors as matters develop."

NAB went on to say it believes the recovery in the UK is "firmly established" across its core markets in Scotland and northern England.

On the Scottish economy it said: "In Scotland, first half 2014 GDP figures showed one per cent quarterly growth, exceeding the UK average, while employment has also been growing and recent housing market surveys show Scotland has some of the best readings of house price growth and sales expectations.

"Other indicators of the Scottish economy show rising local demand, with three per cent annual growth in retail sales volumes in mid-2014 and first quarter 2014 annual growth of 2.4 per cent in manufactured export volumes."

The report did not give any remuneration details of UK-based directors. It showed Mr Clyne received almost A$9m (£5m) in the year including a termination payment of A$1.7m. Andrew Thorburn received A$3.2m, compared to almost A$2.6m in the prior year.