Lloyds bank group pledges to employ more women
Lloyds Banking Group says it will ensure that 40% of its 5,000 senior workforce is made up of women within the next six years, up from 28% now.
The bank, one-third owned by the taxpayer, says it plans a fundamental review of its recruitment policies in order to ensure lasting change.
The pledge comes at a time when big firms are under pressure to employ more women in senior posts.
Lloyds also says it will increase net lending to small firms.
The details will be unveiled in a speech due to be made by the bank's chief executive, Antonio Horta-Osorio, on Tuesday.
End Quote Vince Cable Business secretary
The evidence is clear. Those businesses with diverse senior management make better decisions ”
The government wants a quarter of all directorships in FTSE 100 companies to be held by women by 2015, and has threatened to introduce legally binding quotas if that target is not met.
The bank says its own commitment is broader, affecting 5,000 senior managers including the board.
Lloyds will also introduce a number of other measures, including a commitment to lend more to small and medium sized businesses, in what it calls an attempt to rebuild trust in the banking industry.
In December, the group was fined £28m for putting staff under pressure to sell products which customers did not need or want.Diversity
Ahead of the speech, called Helping Britain Prosper Plan, Mr Horta-Osorio said: "The reputational impact of the financial crisis upon the banking industry's stature has been immense.
"Rebuilding a sound reputation founded on the highest standards of responsible behaviour is key to the industry's long-term success. But words alone are not enough to change public perception and regain trust.
"We must be able to provide meaningful commitments and allow ourselves to be independently measured against those."
Vince Cable, the business secretary, said: "Despite good progress since 2010, we are still not tapping into the talents of half the workforce.
"Too few women occupy the top positions of our companies today. Yet the evidence is clear - those businesses with diverse senior management make better decisions and that is reflected on the bottom line.
"This is not about political correctness, this is about good and profitable business sense."