Lloyds will not be forced to sell more branches

LLOYDS Banking Group will not be required to get rid of more branches than the current tranche of 632 it is currently selling, the Vickers report said yesterday.

The concession to Lloyds marks a departure from the Independent Commission on Banking’s previous position that the taxpayer-backed company should “substantially” raise the number of branches put on the block to increase competition.

But the ICB said instead that the emergence of a “strong challenger bank” should be fostered through the existing asset sale “in light of further evidence”.

The Co-operative Bank, NBNK and Sun Capital are seen as the front-runners in the race to buy the 632 branches currently on the market.