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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lloyds May Give Up Halifax

The European Commission, in the guise of Neelie Kroes (the Competition Commissioner), has warned that Lloyds Banking Group may have to split off Halifax as punishment for the state aid that it received in 2008.

Gordon Brown waived competition rules in September 2008 in order to allow Lloyds to take over HBOS in a rescue deal. Although this will be deemed yet another personal blow to this deal that he orchestrated (ie he twisted arms to save his political skin), splitting off Halifax will increase competition within the banking sector.

Doubtless Sir Victor Blank, ex Chairman of Lloyds, who was conned by Brown into merging with HSBC and also paid a price as he was forced to stand down as chairman, will not be shedding any tears for Brown's hurt "pride" if the EU get their way.

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