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London wants to sell its near-80pc stake in Ulster Bank parent RBS as soon as possible after the general election.
Chancellor George Osborne told the Financial Times that he made a mistake in failing to radically restructure RBS in 2010, and wants to put it into the “good hands” of the private sector.
Mr Osborne said he regrets believing that RBS’s investment bank would be a viable business extending across the world.
The investment bank is now shedding thousands of jobs.
The UK government bailed out RBS to the tune of £45bn during the financial crisis.
To get its money back it needs to sell its shares at an average of £4.55 apiece, the newspaper said.
The shares are currently trading at around £3.80.