In a BBC interview this weekend, Blank, who will be stepping down as Lloyds chairman before its 2010 AGM, told BBC business editor Robert Peston that his future may be in the regulation rather than banking.
He says: “I think I can make a contribution in a wide number of areas which would include governance, which might include regulation, might include the relationship between investors and business and it might even include how businesses are and should be run.”
Blank says he is “disappointed” that he is to step down as chairman of Lloyds: “To rehabilitate Lloyds Banking Group as quick as possible it was necessary to make changes at the top, and I thought the best decision was for me to go, not the chief executive.”
When questioned about the merger with HBOS, Blank says Lloyds TSB was expecting the problems it found within its portfolio, but says it did not expect the speed at which the HBOS book made losses.
He says: “We knew there were concerns with HBOS’ book – with its corporate book, with its buy-to-let book, its self-certified book and so on. But what surprised us was the speed with which the losses came in, and that was because of the unexpected speed of the downturn at the end of 2008 and the start of 2009. What we found in the HBOS portfolio were the problems that we anticipated.”
But Blank is sure that the worst is over for the group. He says: “The impairment levels in the first half of 2009 are as high as they are going to get, they are going to reduce from here.”
In related reports, incoming Lloyds chairman Sir Win Bischoff could be forced to cull the board so as to beef up the banking experience of members. The FSA has revealed it will be assessing the skills sets of banking board members to make sure they are fully qualified in their roles.