TSB boss Paul Pester: No, we're not buying the Co-operative Bank

 
Oliver Gill
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TSB chief exec Paul Pester is focused on the problems in the loan market rather than Co-op Bank (Source: Getty)

TSB has not even entertained the notion of buying Co-op Bank, its boss said this morning.

Paul Pester, the chief executive of the lender, ruled out getting involved with its ailing UK rival.

“We’ve not looked at it, no," Pester told BBC Radio 5. "We’re very busy bringing more competition to UK banking. Very busy growing TSB. We have not looked at the Co-op. Like you, we’ll be interested to see what happens.”

Read more: Co-op Bank crosses fingers rescue plans will take shape

The US hedge fund owners of Co-op Bank are desperately trying to find a new owner, putting the lender up for sale after failing to stem losses generated from a raft of legacy issues.

Earlier this month, Co-op Bank said it had received a number of non-binding offers. This came just days after the Co-operative Group, which still has a minority shareholding in the bank, wrote down its stake; effectively rendering the bank worthless in its eyes.

Virgin Money and Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banking Group are reported to be interested in Co-op Bank, with private equity firms JC Flowers and Cerberus also circling.

Challenger OneSavings Bank, which was previously majority owned by JC Flowers, said it had stepped away from a process to buy a some of Co-op Bank's loan book. Its boss believes a sale process for the whole lender could be doomed and was ready to pick up the pieces if no buyer could be found.

Ripped-off

Meanwhile, Pester this morning also attacked the process whereby consumers are being "ripped-off" to the tune of £400m when shopping around for new loans.

Read more: Bank switching jumps 14 per cent

He said a mark is left on consumers' credit scores simply for asking for a quote for a loan. He said:

The more they shop around for a loan, the higher the price they pay.

Pester added more should be done to make changing loans easier, including introducing a new switching service so people are not locked into loan deals when better ones are available.

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