source familiar with the matter told Reuters. The move comes amid a renewed push by lenders to slash costs as they face investor concerns and the impact of an anticipated cost-of-living crisis in Britain.
Lloyds, the oldest of the big four clearing banks, is working on plans to cut up to 2,000 positions, including analysts and product managers. Its rival, Barclays, is also working on similar cuts to boost profitability.
The banking group’s roots go back to 1765. The company’s name derives from its founder, Thomas Lloyd, a London merchant and entrepreneur who lent money to the army and established the first public lending library in England. In 1865, a new act of Parliament made the bank a joint-stock company with shares owned by private shareholders and the Lloyd family. The company was then known as Lloyds Bank Ltd, and its symbol was a black horse, which dates back to 1677 when goldsmith Humphrey Stokes used it on his sign at Lombard Street, where Samuel Pepys was a regular customer.
In 1995, the Lloyds Bank group took over Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society in a landmark merger to become the UK’s most significant force in domestic retail banking. But in 2013, it split into two separate banks, with TSB remaining the UK’s second-largest force, while the Lloyds Bank brand reappeared on the high street (although the branch network was reduced by nearly half). The black horse symbol is now only present on branches of the UK division.
With its large market share in mortgage loans, the group’s profits have been substantial since the financial crisis, although the Brexit vote has hit the sector. Lloyds CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio said the bank is in a “strong position to withstand the uncertainty” and will invest in its staff.
However, the business remains saturated, and profit margins are volatile. The bank’s mighty CET1 ratio provides plenty of buffer, and its RoTE is a respectable 37%. However, it’s worth remembering that higher interest rates could eat into profits by increasing loan impairments as customers default on their mortgage repayments.
That said, Lloyds is a good quality stock, and its high profits should continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Its strong capital ratio means it can easily withstand even a modest increase in interest rates, while its impressive RoTE should allow it to continue delivering solid returns to investors. That makes it an attractive opportunity for long-term growth. Lloyds is trading at just over 1.8 times its book value, and its forecast P/E of 8.3 is below its industry average. That makes it one of the best-value stocks in the FTSE 100. Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Laith Khalaf rates the stock as ‘buy.’