Scottish Referendum: Banks Weigh New Warnings
Britain's biggest banks are weighing up plans to outline further risks associated with Scottish independence when they unveil half-year results with less than 50 days to go before the crucial vote.
Sky News understands that some major lenders are deliberating over whether to highlight potentially politically explosive risk factors when the interim reporting season kicks off next week.
At least two banks are said to be discussing internally the prospect of warning over the implications for payments systems and infrastructure if Scotland secedes from the UK.
Some senior bank executives believe, however, there is little to be gained from providing additional detail so close to the referendum, given the politically charged nature of the campaign.
Britain's two state-backed banking giants are also stepping up talks with the Bank of England about contingency planning ahead of September's referendum.
Some executives at Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) are advocating a scenario under which the central bank would make a public statement ahead of September's vote guaranteeing deposits and liquidity.
Insiders said that Lloyds and RBS, which are 25% and 80%-owned by British taxpayers respectively, have told Bank of England officials at recent meetings that they are keen for it to do so.
Both banks are headquartered in Scotland and have previously cited the independence vote in risk factors in results announcements earlier this year.
Mark Carney, the Bank of England Governor, has said that an independent Scotland would present "clear risks" and that it would have to surrender some sovereignty to the UK because of the size of its financial sector.
One banker said the discussions reflected the extent to which a vote for independence was deemed to be credible, as well as the "reality that Lloyds and RBS are only notionally Scottish".
The Yes campaign is likely to consider discussions between commercial banks and the Bank of England as reflective of the degree to which a joint approach would be necessary in the mutual interest of Scotland and the rest of the UK.
Earlier this month, economists at UBS, the Swiss bank, said depositors would be likely to move their money south of the border if there was a Yes vote, reflecting that Scotland was "perceived to be the weaker part of the fragmenting monetary union".
However, any liquidity problem at RBS and Lloyds could also stem from customers withdrawing deposits in the rest of the UK, with the stability of both banks of critical importance to the British economy.
The two lenders received nearly £70bn of taxpayer support during the 2008 financial crisis to stave off outright collapse.
While the Bank of England would probably remain the lender of last resort to them during an 18-month transition period following a vote for independence, a row has been taking place for months between Edinburgh and Westminster about whether Scotland could continue to use the pound.
A further argument was ignited this week when MPs on the Scottish Affairs Committee warned that the idea of an independent Scotland retaining sterling was a "dead parrot".
Lloyds, RBS and the Bank of England all declined to comment.