Co-op eyes Lloyds branches

The Co-operative Bank will next week confirm its bid for the 632 branches that Lloyds Banking Group is being forced to sell under European Commission competition rules.

Peter Marks, group chief executive of the Co-operative Group, said last night: "We remain interested in the Lloyds Banking Group's branch assets as we believe this would support our moves to grow our relationship banking business in the UK.

"Our bid for the assets is non-binding and we would only proceed if we could reach an agreement that was in the interests of our members and other stakeholders."

The Co-operative merged with Britannia building society in 2009 to increase its high street branches to 342. Last month it began the process of rebranding them as Co-operative Bank branches.

The deadline for the sale of the Lloyds branches is November 2013. The new bank NBNK has already put in a bid and Virgin Money is also interested.

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