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Lloyds TSB looks to sell branches following HBOS takeover

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by Kay Mitchell

According to a report in a Sunday newspaper, Lloyds TSB’s takeover of HBOS could result in the closure of up to 700 high-street branches.

The £12.2 billion purchase was announced on Thursday amid the turmoil in the stock markets following the collapse of US Wall Street giant, Lehman Brothers.

According to the Independent on Sunday, Lloyds TSB has contacted several property agents including DTZ, Jones Lang LaSalle and CB Richard Ellis with a view to offloading the branches.

The £12.2 billion deal, which is the largest in UK banking history, will result in thousands of job losses. A report last week claimed 40,000 jobs could be axed but Lloyds TSB has denied these claims as ‘ridiculous’.

As part of the deal, Lloyds TSB aims to save around £1 billion a year of the combined group’s cost base. HBOS has a workforce of 75,000 people and has 1,100 branches in the UK, while Lloyds TSB has around 70,000 staff, with 1,900 branches including 160 Cheltenham & Gloucester sites.

According to a property source, the high-street overlap between HBOS and Lloyds TSB is difficult to asses. HBOS is the UK’s largest mortgage provider while Lloyds is larger in current accounts. The source believes around 600 to 700 branches are likely to go.

Meanwhile, another property source agreed that there is scope for hundreds of branch closures as HBOS and Lloyds TSB were often situated near to each other as they competed for customers.

The takeover, which is subject to shareholder approval, will create the UK’s leading financial services group, according to Sir Victor Blank, Lloyds TSB’s chairman.

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News posted: September 21, 2008

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