Co-op in talks to take over Lloyds Branch banking
Co-op in talks to take over Lloyds branches**
The Co-operative Banking Group has agreed a deal with Lloyds to gain control of 632 of the bank’s high street branches.
The deal is a huge move for the Co-operative, and will give the banking group a presence on virtually every high street in Britain.
Talks are still ongoing but the two banking groups are now in ‘exclusive talks’, and the Co-operative Group is expected to announce the final handover in April next year.
When the deal is finalised, the Co-operative will have a total of 947 branches across the country, and will own 6% of the UK’s current accounts.
The deal comes after Lloyds Banking Group was forced to sell off a huge package of assets by the EU, over concerns the banking group was growing too big, and reducing competition.
The package included £36 billion in deposits, £47 billion in mortgages and loans, and around 5.5 million UK customers.
"We have a clear strategy for driving The Co-operative Group forwards. As part of that we have been working to build upon our strong foundations in banking to ensure customers have a real alternative on the high street,” said Peter Marks, Group Chief Executive of The Co-operative Group.
The process of transferring Lloyd’s customers’ bank accounts to the Co-operative, as well as the rebranding of all 632 branches, is unlikely to be completed until late 2013.
“The sale should be good news for consumers - we need a thriving retail banking sector offering a mix of banks, mutuals, credit unions and Post Office banking,” said Sarah Brooks, Director of Financial Services at Consumer Focus.
“But for big to be beautiful for customers, the Co-op must provide good value products and great customer service. This is an opportunity to inject some much needed innovation and competition into our retail banking sector.”