The National Australia Bank is understood to be preparing a bid for 600 Lloyds TSB and Cheltenham & Gloucester branches Lloyds Banking Group is being forced to sell.
As a condition of the European Commission’s approval of the Government’s bailout package, Lloyds must sell 600 Cheltenham & Gloucester and Lloyds TSB branches by November 2013.
NAB, which owns Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks, currently has 339 retail branches and 72 business banking centres across the two brands.
First Action Finance head of communications Jonathan Cornell feels the move will improve competition in the market. He says: “Anything that increases competition on the high street has to be a good thing. At the moment there is only a small number of players and a chronic lack of competition.
“National Australia Bank in the form of Clydesdale has been a great supporter of intermediaries and as its branch network grows it will expand lending and this will improve the strength of the market.”
Emba group sales and marketing director Mike Fitzgerald says: “I love to see change in what is a very static market and I think it will give something a bit different to the British public.”
Last week, Lloyds Banking Group announced that executive director Archie Kane is to retire as part of a management restructure that also sees director of retail Helen Weir step down from her role.