News Column

Lloyds faces further GBP500m hit from PPI mis-selling scandal

July 27, 2014

Martin Flanagan

LLOYDS Banking Group (LBG) is poised to take another GBP500million hit for payment protection insurance (PPI) mis- selling in its latest results this week, taking the total it has set aside for the scandal to more than GBP10 billion.The Bank of Scotland owner is likely to be the biggest casualty as the sector is set to earmark an extra GBP1.5bn for PPI in the interim reporting season.Royal Bank of Scotland made an extra GBP150m provision on Friday as it unveiled a surprise near-doubling of pre-tax profits to GBP2.65bn, taking RBS's total of PPI writedowns to GBP3.25bn. In addition, analysts believe this week's figures from Lloyds are likely to include up to GBP300m of extra costs in relation to the spin-off of its TSB business.The group, which reports on Thursday, also faces being hit with imminent transatlantic regulatory fines over the part played by some of its traders in Libor-rigging - manipulation of the rate at which banks lend to each other.Analysts believe the bank could face a fine of up to GBP300m from regulators on both sides of the Atlantic. Lloyds, which also owns Edinburgh- based Scottish Widows, said on Friday that it was settling with "a number of government agencies" over Libor."The settlements remain to be agreed and LBG expects they will include the payment of penalties," the bank said.George Culmer, the bank's chief financial officer, said at the annual results in February that although the PPI claims were tapering, it was too early to say definitively that the problem was over.But, despite the sting in the PPI tail, it is thought unlikely chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio will use the results to call for a cut-off point for consumers to submit claims. The idea has been opposed by consumer groups."It would be him sticking his head above the parapet on a contentious issue just as Lloyds is seen as having turned the corner into being a respectable bank again," one source said.Analysts were sanguine about Lloyds having to make a hefty new provision for PPI mis-selling. Minal Shah, at broker Charles Stanley, said: "We would not be surprised. It's a banking system-wide issue. All the banks have experienced claims that have taken longer to taper off than originally thought."Regarding the forthcoming Lloyds figures, Deutsche Bank said in a note: "We expect a long list of below the line items - including GBP500m in PPI conduct provisions - will see the bank report a small statutory loss for the second quarter but we do not expect this to materially detract from (total) net asset value growth or dividend prospects."The City consensus for "clean" underlying pre-tax profit at Lloyds is GBP3.5bn, with many believing a dividend will be paid for the second half of 2014.Horta-Osorio is expected to mirror his counterpart at RBS, Ross McEwan, in saying the bank's profitability has been driven by the growing recovery of the UK economy, which is now ahead of its level just before the 2008 financial crash. Lloyds has a market-leading 34 per cent of the British current accounts market and 30 per cent of mortgages.Simon Willis, banking guru at broker Daniel Stewart, said: "I think Lloyds will have seen modest growth in lending, even if nothing dramatic. They are still facing a growing challenge from challenger banks over the next 12 months."As with RBS, bad debts are expected to have fallen substantially as both business and households deleverage as the employment outlook improves.


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Source: Scotland on Sunday


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