Lloyds Banking Group profits surge to £1.9b

Lloyds Banking Group’s quarterly profits have surged to £1.9 billion (US$2.64 billion) as the improving economic outlook saw it claw back £459 million set aside for loans turning sour, Sky News reports.

The earnings for the first three months of the year compare to a bottom line figure of just £74 million a year ago as the group – which includes Lloyds Bank as well as Halifax Bank of Scotland – started to make provision for the coronavirus disease crisis.

Lloyds also said mortgages were up by £6bn over the period with March seeing the highest level of completions on home loans since 2008.

The results reflect trends also reported by rival HSBC a day earlier, with income squeezed by low interest rates but the bank’s bottom line boosted by the release of some of the billions put aside to weather the pandemic.

Lloyds said it now expects the UK economy to grow by 5 percent in 2021, against a previous expectation of 3 percent, while it also believes unemployment will peak at 7 percent, not 8 percent.

The bank said the improved economic outlook partly reflected the impact of the extension of the government’s furlough scheme, which has been subsidising the wages of workers temporarily laid off because of the virus.

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