Lloyds looks to raise £20bn to speed up branch sale

Lloyds Banking Group is said to be in talks to raise £20bn to speed up the sale of 600 of its branches before the November 2013 deadline.

The European Commission ordered Lloyds to offload the branches in 2009 as a result of receiving state support when the bank took over HBOS at the height of the financial crisis in September 2008.

Lloyds new chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio, who previously headed up Santander UK, wants to accelerate the plans to offload the 600 branches, according to The Herald.

Branches up for sale include the 185-strong branch network of Lloyds TSB Scotland and the Intelligent Finance division.

It is thought that Lloyds is negotiating with investment banks including Citigroup and JP Morgan to speed up the sale, with the possibility of the firms stumping up a loan in a bid to boost their chances of advising on the sale.

Potential bidders for the branches include Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank parent National Australia Group, Virgin Money, and an investment vehicle formed by Lord Levene.