Lloyds Bank profits rise by 21pc
Britain's biggest retail bank Lloyds Banking Group reported a 21pc rise in underlying pretax profit for the first quarter, reflecting an improved margin and lower losses for bad debts.
The state-backed lender said on Friday it made a pretax profit before one-off items of £2.2bn for the three months to the end of March, at the top end of expectations, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.
The bank said losses from bad debts fell 59pc from a year ago to £177m. Asset quality this year should be better than previously indicated, it said.
Its net interest margin -- the difference between interest it gets from borrowers and what it pays to savers, a key driver of revenues -- jumped 33 basis points to 2.65pc. It said it expects to exceed previous guidance for its NIM to be 2.55pc this year.
Chief Executive Antonio Horta-Osorio has turned Lloyds' fortunes around, enabling Britain to sell half its 41pc stake in the bank, which was rescued at a cost of £20bn to taxpayers during the 2007-09 financial crisis.
Lloyds announced its first dividend in February since being bailed out and the Conservative party has said it will sell a further £9bn worth of shares in the next year should it win the election, including a sale to retail investors.
Lloyds said it planned to pay a dividend for the half-year and full year for 2015, as previously guided.
The bank made a statutory profit of £1.2bn, down 11pc on the year, after incorporating a £660m charge on the sale of its challenger bank TSB to Spain's Banco de Sabadell.