Fast Track: A-Z of Employers Lloyds TSB

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Age: A vintage 238 (Lloyds); 188 (TSB); or just three if you count from the time that the two companies merged (1995).

History: John Taylor and Samuel Lloyd set up a private banking business in Birmingham which, 100 years later, became Lloyds Banking Company Ltd. Meanwhile, the sons of the original partners set up their own bank in London which, in 1884, was absorbed into the growing company, along with Bosanquet Salt & Co. By 1923, the company had made 50 takeovers. The bank was established in the UK's "Big Five", and, in 1955, acquired another business, which became Lloyds Bank Europe. In 1995, Cheltenham & Gloucester became part of the group; a few months later, Lloyds Bank Group merged with TSB Group to form the largest banking group in the UK.

Address: Main offices are in Lombard Street, central London (home of the grand Lloyds building) and in George Street, Edinburgh; there is also an administration centre in Bristol and the company has more than 2,600 branches nationwide.

Ambience: Most offices are open-plan and employees wear uniforms or suits.

Vital statistics: At the end of 1997, total group assets were pounds 158bn, and group profits before tax were pounds 3,162m. The group employs more than 82,500 people.

Lifestyle: Pretty much a nine-to-five-thirty existence, although those on the retail management development programme will be expected to work according to the current load, and may be required to relocate. There are sports clubs and an annual National Sports Weekend.

Easy to get into? Out of 5,000 applicants this year, 120 places will be awarded. Up to 60 of these are on the retail management development programme; other placements are in marketing, human resources, finance, central operations, corporate banking and international banking. You will need at least a 2.2 degree in any discipline. Call 07000 783955 for further details.

Glittering alumni: Sir Jeremy Morse, a former bank chairman, was the inspiration for the now renowned Inspector Morse; his hobbies were crosswords and chess. The poet TS Eliot was perhaps the most famous ex-employee; he was based at Lombard Street in 1920, but left in 1925 to work for the publishing house Faber & Faber.

Pay: A standard "competitive" but undisclosed starting salary, with six-month pay reviews plus profit-related bonuses.

Training: Lasts for two years on the management training development programmes. Training includes study - for banking exams, sales qualifications, a further degree or languages, for example - and trainees can gain accreditation from bodies such as Cima and IPD.

Facilities: A spokeswoman says - with no apparent awareness of irony - that every branch has cashpoints. Handy, that.

Who's the boss? The chairman is Sir Brian Pitman, and the chief executive is Peter Ellwood.