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HBOS: Burt and Mathewson to withdraw

Robert Peston | 16:10 UK time, Wednesday, 19 November 2008

In the next day or two, Sir Peter Burt and Sir George Mathewson will pull up their tent pegs and relocate themselves away from the furore over HBOS's future.

HBOS logoThe duo of veteran Scottish bankers will announce that the barriers to keeping HBOS independent are insurmountable.

And they'll say it's the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, who has erected those insurmountable barriers.

As my note pointed out yesterday, the chancellor has raised strong doubts about whether the Treasury would provide vital new capital to an independent HBOS and he has also made it clear that the cost to HBOS of such capital (were it to be provided) would be almost prohibitively expensive.

So Burt and Mathewson - both of whom have other commercial activities to occupy themselves - can't escape the painful reality that their campaign to keep HBOS independent has become futile.

They recognise that most HBOS shareholders would take the view that voting to block the takeover against the revealed wishes of the Treasury would be an instance of turkeys clamouring for an early Xmas.

There is evidence that many (perhaps most) investment institutions support the deal. That can be deduced from the overwhelming support for the takeover shown today in a vote of Lloyds TSB's shareholders.

The reason it's possible to extrapolate from that vote is that there is an overlap of more than 50% between the institutions owning HBOS and Lloyds TSB.

So I think it is reasonable to predict that this takeover will now take place.

And it's also reasonable to predict that as and when Lloyds TSB reduces the headcount of the combined banks by 20,000 or more - as it must do because of the overlap between the operations of these two large organisations - some members of the government will not feel totally euphoric in getting what they wished for.


  • Comment number 1.

    I wonder if the 20,000 will remember what party traded away their jobs when it comes to the election?

  • Comment number 2.

    A futile attempt to save a futile operation, lets hope Lloyds can manage to bring banking into the 21st century and ensure 10% + deposits and maximum 3.5 earnings multiple on their new mortgage book.

  • Comment number 3.

    HBOS customers have not had a choice in the LloydsTSB take over. It is a done deal. I know Halifax customers who will be taking their money out of HBOS. LloydsTSB will asset strip HBOS then sell of the shell. I will also not be voting Labour in the next election as they have given their consent for people to be dismissed from their jobs.

  • Comment number 4.

    So the Labour Party has won the day and thousands of jobs will be lost.

    I hope they are proud of themselves.

  • Comment number 5.

    I have been a Bank of Scotland customer for about 30 years and have yet to hear valid reason for this merger proceeding. It is meant to save some money but in comparison to the amount of money already put into the banking sector by the Government it pales into insignificance. It will only benefit the shareholders of both banks but be extremely damaging for employees in the short term, and damaging to competition and customers for ever more. I left the TSB when the Conservative Government sold it even although they did not own it. Now it looks like I shall be doing the same for the Bank of Scotland as I cannot be party to this. It defies belief that a Labour Government could be condemning so many people to the dole queue. Normally I can see the alternative view even although I don't agree with it, but on this occasion I am completely at a loss. Things changed so vastly afterwards the reason for the deal is no longer valid. The Labour Party can forget me voting for them ever again (I said the same about the Tories in the 1980s and have never done so since). I am trully and utterly ashamed of them.

  • Comment number 6.

    When one looks at the appalling level of the Lloyds TSB share price post the vote, how on earth can this feasibly be in the best interests of shareholders ??

    Lloyds TSB are now hobbled with a casualty of the 'credit crunch' and may never recover...

  • Comment number 7.

    "- some members of the government will not feel totally euphoric in getting what they wished for."

    Quite! Masterly understatement here!

    Yet there will still be those who accuse you of being the mouthpiece of the government.

    Personally, I think the two knights intervention was always more political then anything else.

    In an earlier blog alexandercurzon suggested that if businessmen were recruited to help advise the government, they should not be rewarded with titles.

    Lets face it, in most cases a title is no longer perceived as an honour anyway - it's just another debased currency.

  • Comment number 8.

    The reality for some bankers is just taking a bit of time to sink in. If banks aren't doing business (which by all accounts they are not) then they need to do what any other business does. Either downsize to match your new business size or go bust. The fact that the government is stepping in to stop them going bust doesn't mean they can carry on like before.

    The reality is in 5 years time, while none of them may have actually failed, there will be significantly less people employed by the big retail banks and there may be slightly fewer banks as well.

    The question now is will some other banking vehicle grow up to actually take business from them. Either Credit Unions or the return of the Mutuals?

  • Comment number 9.

    Does this not remind you of the Darien Scheme,only this time its so called SCOTSMEN that are invoved

  • Comment number 10.

    Why? They may have saved the majority of the jobs. Our money has saved lots of jobs and the system has not collapsed(yet). We don't know what's around the corner, but they have saved jobs to the detriment of all of us, haven't they?

    Jobs are being lost, shareholders are losing money, many jobs will be lost and many shareholders will lose money. Taxpayers are losing money, pensions are losing money and again we lose more.

    Even the most bullish are holding their hands up and saying the game is up whether its the US auto industry or the Scottish banking industry the result is the same.

    The Fed has decided to let Obama spend the rest of the TARP money. Is this because they have been wasting their time or to provide him with political capital in saving the world? Make your own mind up.

    This is not a prevention of credit to all anymore, it is now refusal of people who could still get it to obtain it.

    So why chase the crazy idea of pumping more borrowed cash into this false panacea, why dont the governments let the weak fold?

    It is ironic that as the oldest bank disappears because of greed and bonuses of its executives, the auto industry of the US will disappear because of the greed and welfare rights of its workforce.

  • Comment number 11.

    So the same institutional shareholders own most of both companies AND support the deal, now there's a surprise. Don't look a gift monopoly in the mouth! I am still surprised that this is used as a justification for the deal, and that the Chancellor seems to feel it is his right to override the FSA and decide who gets funding and at what price, based on his own assessment of risk. What next.

  • Comment number 12.

    Is the government trying to destroy competition in the banking sector post recession? The last thing consumers need is less choice and higher charges for banking services.

  • Comment number 13.

    20,000 - surely an underestimate. Loads of High Streets with 1 x HBOS and 1 x LloydsTSB - 2 loads of corporate teams and heaven knows how many Head Offices - London/Bristol/Halifax/Scotland. Let's get back to reality: 1 x Head office, 1 x branch in each town (including Saturdays), 1 x set of corporate teams; 1 new management team (lets get rid of the old boys - all of them) and pay off HMG...and get rid of GB's control-freakery. When this is on the horizon, we small shareholders would be pleased to invest....but if the new monster puts small businesses under pressure, we'll be out on the street...roll on the revolution.

  • Comment number 14.

    Can anyone really believe that Brown and Darling would be stupid enough to refuse to finance or nationalise HBOS if the need arose? If HBOS went down, so would millions of account holders savings and probably the economy. However it seems that the pompous pair have decided on a takeover by LLoyds and nothing will change their minds in case it is seen as a loss of face. Meanwhile the directors of both banks will walk away with a small fortune (or a large fortune, depending on your point of view ).

  • Comment number 15.

    Instead of saying that the merger will create a company with 145,000 staff and 3000 branches, maybe the front page report should read that it will create a company that will slash the jobs of over 20,000 people. As for there being 3000 branches - how many LTSB & HBOS branches are next too each other on the High Street? How long do you think they'll last? I remember what happened to TSB branches after they "merged" with Lloyds.

  • Comment number 16.

    #5 Hope you are right about shareholders gaining. Question is when?
    The whole exercise has been another Catchup (Ketchup?) Brown grasping the tail of someone else's idea. Seems to have form for this.
    If only BoE had endorsed LloydsTSB's bid for Northern Rock. Shows what timidity brings. Subsequently it has become political spat between SNP and Labour. All went well for Alex Salmond until his "Spivs and speculators" gaffe revealed his true credentials as an economist.
    A sorry mess for everyone. But will the election bring new or more of the same?
    Only when LloydsTSB re-starts paying dividends to shareholders will we know the corner has been turned.

  • Comment number 17.

    Makes you wonder if we may see Darling or other treasury people appear on the Lloyds board when they loose their job at the next election...

    Not that I think the Tories are going to run the country any better, but it is refreshing to let another bunch of incompetent, self-serving, career politicians run the country for awhile and if nothing else, allow Bremner to change his repertoire.

  • Comment number 18.

    what would alister darling do if hbos shareholders voted againt the takeover, what laws we he change then to suit his needs, as he has done since the merger/takeover was first announced. guess we will have to wait till december to find out.
    I wait with baited brath.

  • Comment number 19.

    People need to be rescued - failed institutions don't Is it a healthy society when so many people work in banking? I remember when a colleague and friend of mine died and his widow lost a significant amount of money when her bank persuaded her to see their "financial advisor" and buy some totally unsuitable investments. After I wrote a few letters and involved our MP she did get compensation; but also suffered a great deal of distress - effectively being robbed as well as bereaved.

    There is no point in paying people to do the white collar equivalent of "digging holes in the ground to fill them up again." This is just unemployment with extra benefit. What people need, and what would be good for society, would be a fair and equitable financial cushion for those who lose their jobs, together with real investment by the community as a whole in the productive economy.

    I'm sorry but I don't think that includes banking.

  • Comment number 20.

    If HBoS Isn't bust, let them stay where they are until financial shorting is allowed again, mid Jan I believe. It was only the suspension of this that kept HBoS afloat at all.

    Sorry for the people but do try to recall how many businesses HBoS has wound up in the past and homes it has repossed.

  • Comment number 21.

    I'm absolutely delighted this deal will be going ahead - I think the new Lloyds Group will be an international heavyweight based right here in the good ol' UK.

    There's a concern over how many jobs will be lost but as ever I suspect there's been a fai amount of exaggerating going on, maybe 20,000 jobs will go but it'll be over quite a few years and i'm sure we'll hear the term 'by natural wastage' used a lot, hardly anyone will be forced out of a job.

  • Comment number 22.

    So lets recap. The government is heavily invested (with taxpayers money) in commercial enterprises with highly damaged and perhaps permanently defective business models and to get its money back out needs these businesses to resume business growth asap.
    The financial services industry,in order to avoid future repeats of the crisis, is in need of a much more robust regulatory framework.Said framework would need global buy in and co-operation to be effective and would inevitably restrict a rapid return to previous levels of performance. Anyone spot where the conflict in interest will arise? It would be a brave government to cut a lone furrow on regulation so no doubt they would all heave a collective sigh of relief when they agree that better regulation is desirable but without everyone signing up it just can't be made to work. If ever honest and far sighted leadership free of dogma and self interest was needed it is most certainly now.It will be interesting to see if anyone is capable of stepping up to the plate.

  • Comment number 23.

    The banking industry will never be the same again after the OctoberMess. The high street will look very different in years to come because of the problems of the governments in most first world countries - this one being the biggest hypocrite! How can you have a government that promotes endless borrowing/credit supply then turns the opposite way (and blames the USA) when the bubble burst and still takes the moral highground?

  • Comment number 24.

    Neither HBOS nor Lloyds would exist today without Government money. Period.
    Shareholders think the banks are worth less than the Government are paying for new shares.
    So shareholders will not bail out the company.

    So the Government can do waht it likes.

    As far as jobs are concerned better to lose 20,000 rather than 10 times that amount.

    These companies are failed Banks. Bust without Government aid.

    As for monopolies: rubbish lots of competitors.

    Warning: this is the tip of a very large iceberg. 12 months from now, you will wonder what all the fuss is about as unemployment will have increased then by nearly 1 million.
    20,000 jobs in that context sf tough on individuals but small beer beside 1 million.

  • Comment number 25.

    Likely outcomes -

    HBOS will all but disappear and have a skeleton crew, quite apt really, within 5 years. What can save it.

    Other banks will also slim down and rely on IT more and try to get their customers to do their own clerical work.

    Regulation will be applied at the point of sale, ie the high street, which is where it has been lacking and is easiest to measure. It will probably be done on a 'voluntary' basis with the threat of legislation. The international regulation in reality is more likely to boil down to regulators talking to one another, ie an alarm system.

    The banking sector can only shrink and revenues to the treasury drop accordingly.

    Carbon trading and green taxation will form a stealth tax to fill part of the hole but certainly will not fill it.

  • Comment number 26.

    Instead of the BoE setting "interest rates" is there any reason why we cannot have a "National Bank of England" ? A bank that would take deposits at base rate -1% and offer mortgages at base rate +1%?

  • Comment number 27.

    Re Lloyds TSB vote.

    Its pass the parcel of Toxic waste,i feel sorry for the small shareholders in Lloyds TSB.

    Once again the Institutions have sewn us all up.

    Incidently i am not a shareholder in any bank,but the bill to taxpayers will be huge.

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    Just a pity that Burt did not withdraw from the merger with Halifax in 2001 which ultimately led to the downfall of a great Scottish institution.

  • Comment number 30.


    Surely the only one that is restricting the competition available to you on the highstreet is you.

    If you look at what is offered by these institutions already you will discover that Cheltenham and Gloucester offer different packages to Lloyds TSB and Scottish Widows and BOS offers different packages to Halifax.

    What will you do with the Lib Dems get pally with Santander? Boycott them as well?

    I for one always look at who offers me the best deal, not who got sold to whom under what government. The only one who suffers from your shortsightedness is yourself.

    Does it really matter who owns the Bank? I find it strange that so many people are upset about one British institution buying another yet nobody has batted an eylid that 3 banks have fallen into foreign ownership? If it had been a utility we would be screaming blue murder?

  • Comment number 31.

    I find it reassuring that the institutions are voting for this as they are out to protect the shareholder (afterall they are shareholders) as such this would indicate that they feel this is best option for the shareholders and that things will improve.

  • Comment number 32.

    As a small shareholder in both HBOS and Lloyds TSB, who takes the long view, I can't see what more the government could have done to discourage me from putting more money in.
    It's almost as if they they have their hearts set upon putting taxpayers' funds into these banks.

  • Comment number 33.

    The dramatic near-95% reduction in the value of HBOS shares over the past 18 months would be even more catastrophic if shareholders were to suffer the fate of the Northern Rock shareholders and lose everything. The Government-backed takeover by Lloyds-TSB seems to be the least-worst option for shareholders, especially as there is no counter-offer on the table. It is also potentially the least-worst option for employees - fewer jobs with the new bank might be better than no jobs with a bankrupt HBOS.

  • Comment number 34.

    Just saw the the Channel 4 programme shown on Monday 'The Ascent of Money'.

    Interesting and well presented by a real financial expert, historian and presenter Niall Ferguson.

    What a superb programme......can't wait for the next episode.

    Shame on you BBC/RP for missing the boat.
    This programme should be shown and seen by every adult and child throughout the land.

  • Comment number 35.

    Peston said:
    "In the next day or two, Sir Peter Burt and Sir George Mathewson will pull up their tent pegs and relocate themselves away from the furore over HBOS's future."

    Where are you getting this from Peston ?

    On the website there is no such intent intimated. In fact there appear to be some supportive comments, for the stance of the duo.

    Again: It IS A FACT that this deal will breach Articles 82 and 86 of the European Treaty.

    The European Commission will be compelled to issue a Directive to the UK Government, telling them that the deal IS DEEMED anti-competitive, for breaches of parts a) to d) of Article 82, under the authority contained within article 86 (old Article 90 of the Rome Treaty).

  • Comment number 36.

    With regard to the "Toxic Waste".

    It was revealed on Sunday that Goldman-Sachs had acted in concert with it's former Chairman H.Paulson, now US Treasury Secretary, in a campaign of short selling of Bank Stocks across the board, and that Paulson and Kashkari ( another ex-GS man), had been issuing valueless bonds that have absolutely no backing.

    US House Domestic Policy Committee will meet again tomorrow on Capitol Hill to grill Paulson and/or Kashkari again about these issues.

    GS and Paulson must be made accountable for these losses that they have caused, and then none of these British Banks would be in trouble, including HBOS.

  • Comment number 37.


    Bremner, Bird and Fortune

    The Ascent of Money

    Must watch









  • Comment number 38.

    Personally, I would have liked to have seen China buy HBOS.

    And then put its mortage rates back UP to levels consistent with market interest rates.

    That would have brought into sharp focus the real situation regarding the current demand-supply balance for money in this country, rather than the artificial one (slash Bank Rate then force the banks to drop their mortgage rates) that the Govt seems to think can be a solution to over-indebtedness.

    They never seem to learn.

  • Comment number 39.

    Its shocking to see so many jobs go, how GB can stand at the dispatch box blaming everybody but himself is beyond comprehension..We will never see a Labour government elected thats for sure until he and all the known faces are replaced.

    They will only serve as reminders as to just who put us all in this mess.....

    Just as a little note i saw that the government are now going to make the energy firms pay for the carbon credits or whatever they are called....Now when these were given out the energy firms raised there prices to cover the non existant cost of them, what does GB think they will do when they DO have to pay for them ???

    Answers on the back of an postage stamp .

  • Comment number 40.

    Robert - it would be really helpful if you could explain why, if 98% of LTSB shareholders think it's a good idea to take over HBOS, the markets (presumably, strongly influenced by the institutional shareholders amongst that 98%), are punishing LTSB shares so much. Surely it's in their interests to bid the price up, then take a nice profit on the 173.4p offer in due course? Sorry if this is a naive question, but the current position just seems rather odd to innocent (Lloyds shareholder) me.

  • Comment number 41.

    There has been a problem...

    Your comment contains some HTML that has been mistyped.

    Data at the root level is invalid on line 1

    what does this mean ?

    I did not type ANY HTML.

  • Comment number 42.

    How can we all expect R.P. to be impartial on the subject of this Merger when Peston Junior is the son of peer, Lord Peston of Mile End, ennobled by Neil Kinnock. The Baron Peston after ennoblement then immediately became opposition spokesman for Energy, Education, Science, Trade and Industry until 1997.

    When Labour took over the Government in 1998, The Baron chaired the House of Lords Committee on Economic Affairs until 2005, since when he has worked on the Lords Constitution Committee, and SIGNIFICANTLY on the Committee which is reviewing the BBC Charter.

    It is "Backscratching Time" Perhaps ?

    Aha !

  • Comment number 43.

    well, well, well!

    Are we surprised? I think not!

    We can all live in the hope that Brussells will discipline Gordy and Ally D, take a closer look at what they are doing, realise that they are breaking the rules, selectively using the bits of the G20 weekend break to suit their own ends and are running amok with the UK's finances.

    With any luck, the european court of enquiry will start an enquiry, and call all to book.

    Noone is above the law-best that GB and AD learn that. What a sight that would be -a very public arrest!

    What would happen to the loans held by a bankrupt bank? Surely what is happening with Northern Rock.

    Whatever is decided with HBOS and Lkoyds, only time will tell if the decision was the right one.

    Like another poster-I'm far more interested in ground zero-the effects on us lowly folk and why the government isn't doing enough to sort that out.

    Check out the bash Alistair Darling page on MSN-76% vote for a general election now!

    So much for polls, huh?

  • Comment number 44.

    I believe the HBOS employee are getting what they deserve, I have no sympathy with a bank that treats it customers so badly. My experience of this bank is one of untruths, accusations, bullying and avoidance that continues to this day. Good night and good bye HBOS

  • Comment number 45.

    # 40

    The reason why LTSB fell (and HBOS rose) is that the market has not been pricing in the consolidation of the banks at anything like a 100% probability. Ever since the deal was anounced, HBOS has traded at a discount to the implicit value of the LTSB offer. Put in terms of LTSB: LTSB has been trading at a premium. Given the 96% acceptance, and the overlap between LTSB and HBOS ahreholders, it is now very likely that the deal will go through. Hence the relative prices of LTSB and HBOS ought to move towards the ratio of LTSB shares offered for HBOS shares, ie the HBOS price ought to be about 60% of the LTSB price.

    Current trading in the shares is almost certainly driven by people running trading strategies, not the long term investors who will have voted today. My guess it's mainly absolute return or market neutral-type strategies. They have probably been long LTSB since the deal was announced (if it failed the LTSB price would probably rise). They will now be selling LTSB and buying HBOS, as they currently get more than 0.6 HBOS shares for every LTSB share they sell. It's a guaranteed profit if the likelihood of HBOS accepting the LTSB offer is now seen as 100%, as LTSB will swap their HBOS shares for a known quantity of LTSB.

    For example, let's say LTSB shares were worth 100p before the vote, and HBOS 50p. Let's say I own 100 LTSB shares. I could sell them and buy 200 HBOS shares with the proceeds. When the LTSB takeover is completed, I'll get 120 LTSB shares (60% of 200), so I've made a "profit" of 20 LTSB shares (I started with 100 remember). The market makers can do this type of maths just as well as I can, actually probably better and faster. Hence as soon as the LTSB vote was announced, they'd have marked up HBOS and marked down LTSB to eliminate this kind of arb profit I've just shown.

  • Comment number 46.

    Some simple arithmetic:

    There are 5,972.85 million LLOYDS Shares

    There are 5,406.57 million HBOS Shares

    At the announced swap ratio of .605

    this means that the number of LLOYDS shares required to swap out the total
    number of issued HBOS shares is:

    5,406.57 X 0.605 = 3,270.97 (millions)

    Now that number of shares is more than
    fifty percent of the total LLOYDS issue.
    It is 54.76 percent.

    So then how does the current LLOYDS Board end up in charge of the "NEW"
    company ?

    Little wonder Blank and Daniels called it the
    "Deal of the Century", and shareholders voted for it, but whose shares will the Bank use to do the swaps ?

    Why no-ones of course, they will simply print them up, diluting the existing LLOYDS stock, and then pay for them by rape and pillage of the assets of the former HBOS.

  • Comment number 47.

    #7 "Lets face it, in most cases a title is no longer perceived as an honour anyway - it's just another debased currency."

    The French have more nobility per 1,000 people than any other country in Europe. This is because many of their nobility fled France during the Napoleonic times and *Emperor* Napoleon then created many, many more. Therefore, much of their nobility is even more of a debased currency than the Brits !!

  • Comment number 48.

    "some members of the government will not feel totally euphoric in getting what they wished for."

    Obviously *not* scholars of Chinese culture and philosophy. A famous Chinese saying is - Be careful what you wish for; you may actually get it !! With the unstated addition of - but you may seriously regret getting it !!

  • Comment number 49.

    #10 "the auto industry of the US will disappear because of the greed and welfare rights of its workforce."

    Their chief executives are not exactly short a few bob too !! Quite comparable to the banking executives, in fact !!

  • Comment number 50.

    #12 "Is the government trying to destroy competition in the banking sector post recession?"

    I wonder why they are so keen to drag Barclays into the nationalised banks' fold; to such an extent that a concerted propaganda campaign is launched against them ??

  • Comment number 51.

    #16 "Only when LloydsTSB re-starts paying dividends to shareholders will we know *the corner has been turned*."

    Don't invest in steering wheels until the middle of the century !!

  • Comment number 52.

    Has shareholders rights gone?

    First dividend capitalisation was not actioned on terms approved by shareholders. Average share price between 1st and 3rd Oct 2008 was 170p whereas we were given shares at232p being the ficticious Lloyds offer that has been reneged.

    Second, if small holders take up the forthcoming rights issue, why is it only institutional investors being offered the government preferential shares.

    Third, were the directors and FSA lying about the financial strength of HBOS at the previous rights issue. These lies raised £4b for HBOS but it now materialises that it was known not to enough although told otherwise. Was FSA trying to find a suitor for HBOS earlier than nationalisation of Northern Rock because the Government could not afford HBOS at the time.

    Finally, is there a HBOS forum / blog for shareholders.

  • Comment number 53.

    #23 "How can you have a government that promotes endless borrowing/credit supply then turns the opposite way (and blames the USA) when the bubble burst and still takes the *moral highground* ?"

    Perhaps it is because they are standing on the highest pile of manure ??

  • Comment number 54.

    #26 "Instead of the BoE setting "interest rates" is there any reason why we cannot have a "National Bank of England" ? A bank that would take deposits at base rate -1% and offer mortgages at base rate +1%?"

    Yes, with Wing Commander Porky at the helm !!

  • Comment number 55.

    #46 Assumptions, assumptions !! You are assuming that *ALL* the shareholders are unique and distinct entities !! This is not the case as had been pointed out by many earlier posts. There is approximately 50% overlap in shareholders so *they* could increase their LTSB shareholdings AND vote in the LTSB board !!

  • Comment number 56.

    bank of china was reported to be sniffing around HBOS but what if they wait until the LTSB merger is done and the branches closed and jobs lost. Then if they still have cash they could bid for the merged superbank. There could not be objections on competion grounds as they have all been waived for the merger. bank of china would then have a huge slice of UK banking.

    You're all doing very well !!

  • Comment number 57.

    If Scotland were independent, would Alex Salmond and his government be able to bail out HBOS without the help of the English?

  • Comment number 58.

    The 20,000 jobs were going anyway, the real problem is in a few years time ... dust settles etc .... when the high street has little banking competition.

  • Comment number 59.

    The last we hear of these two, I hope.

  • Comment number 60.

    #10 the auto industry of the US will disappear because of the greed and welfare rights of its workforce.

    errr..... i dont think they have private jets and a bonus income in the tens of millions! Building trucks not cars is their problem.

  • Comment number 61.

    Good to see sense prevails. Britain as a whole needs a strong banking centre. HBOS on its own would go bust and Lloyds would be too small. The combined bank will be a major player after all the dust has settled. Hopefully Llloyds will ensure that the prolifagacy of HBOS will be curtailed and common sense returns. After all they will be teh source of a large proportion of UK mortgages that will benefit everyone

    As for teh jobs in Scotland issue - do not remember many complaints when job losses were in England after the Halifax was bouught

  • Comment number 62.


    HBOS has already raised more than £3 Billion at the Euro Bond Market and another £1.5 Billion from the sale of an Australian asset. Another half billion from another source.

    So HBOS already raised roughly half the money it needed to stay afloat, without the assistance of being merged with LLOYDS.

    It seems that with LLOYDS now getting £7 Billion from the Government, according to A.Darling - when the deal is broken down into its constituent parts, that LLOYDS now needs more Government cash than HBOS.

    Can that be correct ?

    Is this why HBOS is fairing better on the London Exchange floor ?

  • Comment number 63.

    So why no POUND Sign then......

    this blog does have some idiosyncrasies


  • Comment number 64.

    Totally stupid !

    From outside it is like watching someone drive sheep on to the motorway.

    And the sheep even vote for it !

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 67.

    Of course Darling was BORN in LONDON, so he isn't a "Real Scot, but FEELS Scottish", according to his own biography.

    I remember Gordon Brown from University Days, when he (like Darling) was a Trotskyist. He used to have a Union Jack hand-kerchief which he used to blow his nose on, and say; "That's all it's good for".... How we all laughed then, but it's changed days now.

    The Shills !

  • Comment number 68.

    Time to short HBOS.L and LTSB.L. Once the newly merged Gosbank starts getting orders from Dumb and Dumber to lend like crazy and cut rates like crazy they are going to be bankrupt pretty soon.

    If the short sale ban is still in place, you can always use CFDs. I would guess less than 24 months before they burn through that new capital.

    Wonder if Mr RP will be writing articles about how stupid BARCL was then....

  • Comment number 69.


    Normally agree with you entirely on your trading plays, but I'd do something slightly different on this one. I'd actually short ALL banks (via CFDs?). For the more risk averse, it could be turned into something market neutral, eg long (Euro)Stoxx short banks. The return is then cash plus the amount by which banks underperform the market generally, isn't it? Well above inflation return over 2009, I reckon.

    Given broker forecasts for bank earnings in 2009 (or lack thereof), and the risk of further big credit defaults (eg as a result of car manufacturers problems, I reckon you're possibly being optimistic in giving banks 24 months before they need another transfusion.

  • Comment number 70.

    Northern Rock is about to crash and burn despite being owned by the "Government", because the underlying Granite Trust is in default for £38 Billion, according to Standard and Poors !!!

    By co-incidence that was the SAME figure quoted to save the "Highland Life" bank in the BBC Drama "Spooks" episode this week.

    The plot of that show said that if the UK had to fund such a bank in that position, it would not be able to do so, and millions would lose thier homes.

    I wonder if this is also true in the real World ?


  • Comment number 71.

    That last graph was the position in JUly / August, but things have moved on now, and HBOS Situation improved to 3 percent or less, whereas Granite Trust has all but collapsed.

    See the chart on to-days report:

    Blimey !

  • Comment number 72.

    Number 30

    Foreign Banks - thought Lloyds were a London Based bank & HBOS in Edinburgh?

  • Comment number 73.

    I am appauled that HBOS has been denied funding as an independent institution on the same terms as the other banks. This is a disasterous take-over by a possibly more crippled bank, bludgeoned through for political ends.

    As a long standing Bank of Scotland customer, I will not be supporting the 'take-over'. I and most friends and colleagues using HBOS will be taking our custom as quickly away from this monstrosity as possible.

  • Comment number 74.

    20000 ! Redundancies ! Believe me as a long standing member of LTSB staff myself and my colleagues are queueing up for redundancy , can we sign up now !

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    For those hard of thinking little Englanders.

    LLoyds is 5 times smaller than HBOS. It has been given £7 billion pounds compared to £12 billion for HBOS.

    That means that Lloyds has been bailled out with over 3 times as much money in relative terms than HBOS.

    Lloyds also has a WORSE ration of loans (debt) to capital then HBOS.

    The whole takeover was arranged months before the collapse in HBOS shares and the labour media has been complicit in the whole farce.

    Could any Labour apologist explain why they think that destroying a 311 year old bank would do anything other than enhance the cause of Scottish freedom?

  • Comment number 77.

    Can anyone tell me what the reasons are for Mr Darling making it difficult for others to bring forward a bid for HBOS?
    It seems to be a risky game being played by Labour over HBOS ... can someone offer any reasons why they are so keen on the merger?

  • Comment number 78.

    I have waded through the 350 pages of the "Acquisition of HBOS by LTSB" document posted to HBOS shareholders this week.
    Despite all the window dressing and fog produced in this report, I think shareholders need to focus on one parameter only, which is the Tier 1 Capital ratio of the banks before and after takeover.
    As you probably know, Tier 1 Capital is used as a core measure of a banks financial strength and Tier 1 capital is used to provide protection from unexpected losses.

    The following are noted:-
    HBOS at 30 Sept '08 T1=8.1% CoreT1 =6%

    Expected Jan '09 T1=11.5% CoreT1=8.5%

    LTSB at 30 Jun '08 T1=8.6% CoreT1 =6.2%

    Enlarged group after takeover CoreT1=7%

    So the enlarged group will be in a worse position than HBOS on its own. (Ah yes but HBOS don't get the money from HMG unless they agree to a takeover!).
    Something about this deal doesn't add up here.
    I'm sure the deal will go ahead but without political interference it would make no sense.

    It reminds me of the quote from Sir Thomas Beecham when asked "Do you owe or are you owed one millon pounds?"
    Sir Thomas replied "the answer is in the affirmative!"

  • Comment number 79.

    I am concerned at the B of E urging Banks to lend more - rash lending was the root cause of the problem.
    I have deposits with a part Government owned Bank and it seems to me they are being urged to make political decision rather than pragmatic decision.
    Maturity is not far away and I feel I will better investing away from Banks where the Government is involved.


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