Shares in British banks were broadly down on the FTSE 100 in morning trading as concerns about the eurozone came back to the fore, as did worries about banking reform.

On Saturday a government commission on banking suggested splitting investment banking from retail operations in order to protect consumers from losses incurred by investment bankers. In addition banks may be required to hold greater capital reserves.

Saturday also saw Ireland come back into the headlines when Prime Minister Brian Cowen said it would be standing down as leader of the ruling Fianna Fail Party, but would remain as Prime Minister until elections due on 11 March.

The date of the elections may be brought forward however after the Green Party, which has been in coalition with Fianna Fail, said yesterday that it would no longer support the government.

By 10:55 shares in Lloyds Banking Group were down 2.86 per cent to 65.44 pence per share, RBS shares declined 3.32 per cent to 43.45 pence per share and Barclays shares fell 1.33 per cent to 296.90 pence per share.

However HSBC shares increased 0.09 per cent to 696.40 pence per share.

Overall the FTSE 100 was up 0.13 per cent to 5,904.03.