Lloyds Banking Group, bailed out to the tune of £20 billion by the taxpayer four years ago, today made two moves signalling its strengthening balance sheet.
In the biggest move, it said it had paid back all the €13.5 billion (£11.4 billion) of cheap loans which it had taken from the European Central Bank last year. This is almost two years before they were due for repayment.
The bank had already paid back €10 billion of the funds drawn under the ECB’s Long Term Refinancing Operation. Today it said that it is repaying the final €3.5 billion following the sale of its Spanish retail business at the end of last month.
As the loans were not due for another two years Lloyds said the repayment “demonstrates the group’s balance sheet strength and strong liquidity position.”
Lloyds also announced the sale of a loss-making property loan portfolio to private equity group Cerberus for £325 million. The gross assets are valued at £525 million and lost £47 million last year.
Lloyds said the sale would not have a material impact because the assets have already been significantly written down.