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Battle for the 600 Lloyds Branches

The main Battle of the Branches has begun

Lloyds Banking GroupIt started in 2008 when the UK Government, the European Commission and Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) agreed to a divestiture as one of the remedies to the distortion of competition caused by government support to LBG during the financial crisis. LBG committed to divest the TSB brand with a retail banking business of at least 600 branches located in England and Wales, and at least 4.6% of the UK personal current account (PCA) market and 19.2% of LBG’s retail mortgage assets. The group also made commitments on the average quality and profitability of the divestiture and its branches. It must demonstrate that it has approached potential buyers by 30 November 2011. The sale must be completed no later than 30 November 2013. The buyer of the divestiture may not have more than 14% of the PCA market in the UK after the purchase. Add the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) set up by the Treasury wants Lloyds to be ordered to sell "assets and liabilities" in addition to those that the European Commission is already obliging Lloyds to sell, to reduce its substantial market share in personal banking. If implemented, this would force Lloyds to sell more branches on top of the 600 it is already auctioning. The chief executive of Lloyds, Antonio Horta-Orsorio - with the full backing of Lloyds' board - is implacably opposed to selling "even one extra branch" on top of the 600 branches Lloyds is already being forced to sell. Lloyds Banking Group announced last week the executive management team that will lead the divestment programme of retail and commercial assets (“Project Verde”). A valuation of £3bn is expected according to media.

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