Royal Bank of Scotland ( RBS) is in talks to sell its retail and commercial assets in Asia to Australia & New Zealand Banking Group for about 1 billion pounds ($1.42 billion), the Wall Street Journal reports, citing a person close to the situation.

The sale of the assets -- in India, Taiwan, Indonesia and elsewhere -- is part of a new initiative to sell noncore assets and sharply narrow the banking giant's global ambitions, the Journal reports.

The assets are a portion of the Asian assets acquired by RBS when it led a consortium to buy part of ABN Amro in 2007. At the time, RBS paid 10 billion pounds for its part of ABN, which included the Asian businesses and wholesale-banking operations in Europe.

The talks indicate that RBS CEO Stephen Hester is moving ahead quickly with plans announced last week to identify and dispose of "noncore" businesses, according to the Journal.

Last week, the troubled U.K. lender reported it swung to a loss of 24.1 billion pounds ($34.3 billion) in 2008 after booking massive writedowns in the period and impairment charges of 8.1 billion pounds. The 2008 loss is the largest in U.K. corporate history.
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