Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group will register themselves in England if Scotland votes for independence in next week's referendum.

Lloyds Banking Group, which includes Halifax and Bank of Scotland, said last night it has plans in place to set up new "legal entities" in England if the Yes campaign is victorious.

Royal Bank of Scotland, which has been based in Scotland since 1727, followed suit today by saying that it would be necessary to re-domicile the Bank's holding company and its main operating entity to England.

RBS said the decision to re-domicile should have no impact on everyday banking services and that it would retain a significant level of its operations and employment in Scotland.

Standard Life has also advised investors it is "planning for new regulated companies in England to which we could transfer parts of our business if there was a need to do so".

RBS said there were a number of "material uncertainties" arising from the Scottish referendum vote which could have a bearing on the Bank's credit ratings, and the fiscal, monetary, legal and regulatory landscape.

It added: "For this reason, RBS has undertaken contingency planning for the possible business implications of a Yes vote. RBS believes that this is the responsible and prudent thing to do and something that its customers, staff and shareholders would expect it to do."

A Lloyds spokesman said the group - which also includes Scottish Widows, where Prime Minister David Cameron made his emotional plea for the union to remain - had been contacted by concerned customers, staff and stakeholders about its plans in the event of a Yes vote.

The spokesman said: "While the scale of potential change is currently unclear, we have contingency plans in place which include the establishment of new legal entities in England.

"This is a legal procedure and there would be no immediate changes or issues which could affect our business or our customers.

"There will be a period between the referendum and the implementation of separation, should a Yes vote be successful, that we believe should be sufficient to take any necessary action.

"As a group we are committed to supporting our customers across Scotland and the rest of the UK."

Treasury Financial Secretary David Gauke said: "Looks like an independent Scotland will have more pandas than banks or insurance companies."

Alex Salmond said the Royal Bank's contingency plans would have no impact on jobs or operations and claimed the announcement from the bank had been used by the UK Government as part of its political campaign.

The First Minister told BBC Radio Scotland: "I've just been handed the letter that the chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland sent out to staff this morning and let me read you it: 'It's my view as chief executive that any decision to move our registered headquarters would have no impact on everyday banking services used by customers in Scotland.

"'This is a technical procedure regarding the location of our registered head office, based on our current strategy and business plan. It is not an intention to move operations or jobs'."

The First Minister added: "The first news of this came to the BBC from a source within the UK Government, within the Treasury, not from the letter from the chief executive issued this morning which makes clear there's no impact on operations or jobs.

"It's part of a political campaign during this referendum campaign from the UK Government."

Mr Salmond said the recent announcements made by the banks were about "brass plaques".

He denied that the lack of a clear answer on the question of the currency of an independent Scotland was causing uncertainty in the financial markets.

The First Minister argued that any uncertainty was caused by the "unreasonable posture" of the UK Government and its lack of contingency plans for Scottish independence.

He repeated the Scottish Government's position that in the event of a Yes vote a "common sense agreement on a common currency" would be reached between Scotland and the rest of the UK, "once the need for scaremongering is over".

Mr Salmond said: "The way to avoid any uncertainty in the financial markets is for the UK Government to say following the Edinburgh Agreement, which they signed, that we'll sit down reasonably with the Scottish Government after the people of Scotland vote Yes in the referendum and discuss these matters in the best interests of Scotland and the rest of the UK.

"The contingency plans announced by Lloyds and the Royal Bank of Scotland will have no impact on operations or jobs."

The First Minister claimed the No campaign was "scaremongering" as a "deliberate tactic" in the campaign.

He added: "My submission and my confidence is that the people of Scotland have moved beyond this sort of intimidation and know that Scotland can be a prosperous and successful country."

Nick Clegg said it was "almost comic" the way Mr Salmond repeatedly dismissed claims by leading figures in business and finance about their plans in the event of a Yes vote.

Speaking on his regular LBC phone-in, the Deputy Prime Minister: "He is a very good campaigner, he is a wily politician.

"I think he has been living and breathing this all his life. It's his life's mission but just because something is someone's life mission doesn't mean the mission is the right thing for the people he seeks to represent.

"It is becoming almost comic the way you have major, major figures raising massive alarm bells about the economic consequences of independence.

"Just this morning the head of John Lewis saying prices would go up for shoppers in Scotland and then the SNP said 'oh, he's exaggerating'. BP, they say please don't go independent, 'oh, they're exaggerating', Shell, 'oh, no they're exaggerating', Standard Life, 'oh, no they're exaggerating, RBS, 'oh, no they're exaggerating', Lloyds ...

"You can't constantly shout people down when very authoritative bodies say 'this is going to be bad for prices and shops, for jobs in Scotland. You can't keep saying 'oh, they are just talking nonsense'.

Mr Clegg said the Scottish Parliament already had significant tax varying powers but the First Minister "never chose to use them".

He added: "He curiously has been the road block for actually exercising the great Scottish powers that Scotland already has."