Anthony Hilton: Candid revelations from the Lloyds rescue of HBOS

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It is part of City etiquette that when a finance house buys a parcel of non-performing loans from a bank it does not disclose the price it has paid. This is so the bank can avoid revealing in public the size of the loss it has made and therefore not be subject to pertinent questions, from its taxpayer owners, about how it can possibly have been so stupid as to lend the money in the first place.

On Wednesday Lloyds Banking group said it was selling a portfolio of Australian commercial property loans with a face value of £809m to a joint venture run by Morgan Stanley and Blackstone. However, this time, unusually, we were also told the selling price. It was £388m. Lloyds' candour stems probably from the fact these were HBOS loans inherited in the rescue of that bank a few years ago. But even so it beggars belief what the lender thought it was doing such a short time ago.