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Lloyds Bank AGM

Lloyds chairman: ‘we will learn from mistakes’

Uberior House, LloydsLloyds Bank chairman Lord Blackwell today promised that it would learn from its mistakes and create a new responsible business.

As the government announced that the taxpayers’ stake had been reduced to 0.25% he told shareholders that returning fully to the private sector would be a “major achievement”.

“Everyone is conscious of the enormous debt we owe to taxpayers. It is a source of enormous pride that we have been able to repay the taxpayer,” he said.

Noting the scandal in the Reading branch of HBOS which resulted in a number of convictions, including HBOS employees, he said compensation would be paid quickly to customers who were affected.

“By quickly, I mean within weeks rather than months,” he said.

It was announced recently that Russel Griggs will examine the compensation claims.

Lord Blackwell said the bank had made good progress in trading performance and was able to pay a 1.7p interim dividend, making 2.55p for the year, and a special dividend of 0.5p, making a total return of £2.2bn to shareholders.

Despite progress made there was no room for complacency or feeling that the “job is done”, he said.

“Our objective is to make Lloyds Bank a great British institution.”

Chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio, reflecting on the crisis in 2008, said the bank had not been customer focused.

He said the bank had returned to its “traditional roots” and said the capital position was the highest of the UK banks.

The government would make a return on the funds pumped into the bank to rescue it in 2008, he said.

Noting the number of branch closures, he said: “Branches remain an important part of our strategy and we continue to invest in our network.”

He said counter transactions were falling but branches remained particularly important to small firms. More mobile branches would be made available to those who could not reach their nearest branch easily.

All resolutions were passed.

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