Co-operative Financial Services chairman Paul Flowers claims the mutual is the only “credible” bidder for the Lloyds bank branches.
The European Commission is forcing Lloyds to sell 632 branhes and 5 per cent of the banking market by November 31, 2013 as part of its state aid agreement.
Speaking at a fringe event at the Liberal Democrat conference in Birmingham this week, Flowers said: “I would suggest we are the only credible bidder because we are the only bidder which already has a substantial branch network. All the other bidders are pie in the sky.”
Lloyds will not confirm who has submitted bids but it is thought American investment firm Sun Capital and NBNK, a shell vehicle set up by former Lloyd’s of London chairman Lord Levene, have done so. NBNK is looking to acquire National Australia Bank brands Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks as a platform to bid for the Lloyds branches.
Flowers said: “They may be interesting people in the City or have seats in the House of Lords but that is all they are. We believe we need to create, and that the market needs, a credible sustainable mutual provider in banking which has the scale this sort of bid might achieve.”
NBNK was unavailable for comment.