So, the deal between Lloyds and the Co-operative Bank is off.
It held the prospect of being a game changer in banking, simply by extending the branch network for the Co-operative Bank across a far wider reach across the country. In addition to 630 branches, over four million customers would have come across, the result, ultimately, of a decision by the regulator that Lloyds, for taking the shilling of the state, needed to sell some of its branches, to limit its sway.
This was always a huge financial deal, with high risks for the co-operative sector balanced out by a long-term view of the benefits of being in retail banking at a scale on which the Co-operative Bank could be a competitor that could help shape good practice and make returns for members. It is to the credit of the Co-operative Group that it explored it, was up for it, and that it had the business nous now to step away. The concerns, which were around regulatory requirements, capital backing, payback ...more