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Lloyds 'set to axe 15,000 jobs'

Taxpayer-backed Lloyds Banking Group is expected to axe 15,000 staff as part of a new £1 billion cost saving plan, it has been reported

The scheme, being led by the bank's new boss Antonio Horta-Osorio, will strip away layers of management and lead to hundreds of job losses at its London head office, according to The Sunday Times.

Thousands more jobs are to go across the UK and its international outposts, with the bank expected to exit some overseas markets.

Lloyds, which is 41% owned by the taxpayer, has already axed some 28,000 posts in the past two years after its ill-fated HBOS takeover. The acquisition left the combined group with mammoth bad debts and forced it to turn to taxpayers for a bailout.

Mr Horta-Osorio, who took the top post in March after being poached from rival Santander, is set to unveil the plans as part of a strategy review on June 30. He is unlikely to announce a figure for the number of jobs to be shed but will instead lay out a series of cost-cutting targets.

The bank is expected to place all its international operations in 30 overseas countries under review. While it could exit some markets, it may retain a handful of emerging market businesses as the foundation for future overseas growth in three to five years' time.

Last week, Lloyds initiated the sale of 632 of its branches and a large part of its mortgage operations after being ordered to sell them by the European Commission.

The Sunday Times said that Co-operative Financial Services is close to appointing Credit Suisse to advise it on making a bid for the businesses.

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Money and NBNK, a bidding vehicle run by Lord Levene and former Northern Rock boss Gary Hoffman, are also considering a bid.

Lloyds, which has a 30% share of personal current accounts and 21% of the savings market, is expected to be forced to sell more of its branches under plans to be revealed by Independent Commission on Banking in September.

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