Lloyds Banking Group, bailed out to the tune of £20bn by the taxpayer four years ago, yesterday made two moves signalling its strengthening balance sheet.
In the biggest move, it said it had paid back all the €13.5bn (£11.4bn) of cheap loans it took from the European Central Bank last year. This is almost two years before they were due for repayment.
The bank had already paid back €10bn of the funds drawn under the ECB’s Long Term Refinancing Operation. Yesterday it said it is repaying the final €3.5bn following the sale of its Spanish retail business at the end of last month. Lloyds said the repayment “demonstrates the group’s balance sheet strength and strong liquidity position”.
It has also sold a loss-making property loan portfolio to the private equity group Cerberus for £325m. The portfolio’s gross assets are valued at £525m and it lost £47m last year.