The European Commission demanded it, and now Lloyds Banking Group has had to comply. It's having to sell 632 branches of Lloyds TSB and Cheltenham and Gloucester to the Co-operative Banking Group.
were issues over competition when Lloyds TSB bought out Halifax Bank of Scotland during the financial crisis. The bank needed a government bailout after that, and the taxpayer stills owns 40% of it. So now Co-op will cough up around £350m for the 4.8 million customers whose accounts it will take control of. And it might have another bill of some £400m, based on how well the combined business performs over the next 15 years.
What does it mean for Co-op? Well it'll become an even bigger player, with its branch numbers swelling to almost 1,000 and its share of UK personal current account customers shooting up from 1% to 7%. And analysts predict that could grow. Co-op's extremely serious about its ethical and social responsibilities in the world and those philosophies are becoming increasingly attractive to potential customers. Plus the whole market simply gets much more competitive, something the Chancellor George Osborne has welcomed today, and maybe even dare we say it - a little more trustworthy?