Belfast Telegraph

Lloyds profits soar as bad debts fall

Nick Goodway

Taxpayer-backed Lloyds Banking Group saw a threefold rise in profits in the first three months of the year as bad debts fell and it continued to cut costs.

"These figures show that we are making significant progress and are ahead of our plan to transform the group," said chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio. "We still have much to do, but there are many positives in this quarter's results."

Headline profits jumped from £497m to £1.48bn, well ahead of most analysts' forecasts of £1.1bn.

For the first time since Horta-Osorio took charge of the bank in early 2011 there is no increase in the quarter for the cost of settling payment protection insurance mis-selling claims.

Bad debt writedowns dropped by 40% to £1bn in the quarter, while costs were reduced by 6%.

The bank said it now expects to save an extra £200m in costs during this year.

After last week's collapse of the sale of 632 branches to the Co-op, Lloyds said its planned flotation of the newly renamed TSB should take place "sometime in the middle of next year". The Government still owns 39% of Lloyds following its £20bn bailout in 2009.

Belfast Telegraph