BBC BLOGS - Peston's Picks
« Previous | Main | Next »

Blank to quit Lloyds

Robert Peston | 09:13 UK time, Sunday, 17 May 2009

Sir Victor Blank is to step down as chairman of Lloyds Banking Group.

The bank's board is meeting this morning to confirm the arrangements for his departure and a statement is expected later today.

This is expected to day that Sir Victor will have handed over to a successor by next year's annual meeting, so in about a year.

Sir Victor, together with Lloyds' chief executive, Eric Daniels, has faced considerable criticism from some Lloyds' shareholders for their decision last year to buy HBOS, the troubled owner of Halifax.

HBOS made a loss in 2008 of almost £11bn and the two banks together are also expected to be in loss this year.

Quite apart from the perception that buying HBOS weakened Lloyds, the other reason some shareholders are upset with Sir Victor and Mr Daniels is that the financial troubles at HBOS meant that Lloyds as HBOS's new owner needed greater investment from taxpayers than would otherwise have been the case.

The Treasury, on behalf of taxpayers, owns 43% of Lloyds.

Sir Victor was more vulnerable to pressure from shareholders because he is up for re-election at the annual general meeting on 5 June, whereas Eric Daniels is not.

Lloyds' directors do not believe that Sir Victor would have been ousted by shareholders at the forthcoming annual meeting (but see below on this).

That said, they feared there would have been a substantial and embarrassing protest vote.

Speculation about Sir Victor's future would not have ended, directors concluded, which would have complicated the process of rebuilding the weakened bank.

UK Financial Investments, which manages the stake in Lloyds on behalf of the Treasury, was acutely aware of other shareholders' conviction that there had to be a change at the top of Lloyds.

It is understood that UKFI feels it was better that the chief executive, Eric Daniels, should retain his job, because it rates his managerial ability and feels there is a global shortage of decent banking executives.

However, shareholders hold Mr Daniels jointly responsible for the takeover of HBOS. His long-term future will depend on whether he can demonstrate that HBOS can be transformed from a millstone into a significant contributor of additional profits.

UPDATE 10:53: I've been trying to get to the bottom of which way UKFI would have voted at the annual meeting on whether Sir Victor should remain as chairman.

And I am now persuaded that UKFI would have voted its 43% (that's taxpayers' 43%) against him staying on.

In which case, Sir Victor could not possibly have survived as chairman. And if directors really believed that he would have won the vote, which is what I was told earlier, they were bonkers.

In other words, Sir Victor has jumped before he was pushed.

What's fascinating is that UKFI seems to be behaving more independently of the Treasury and government than many thought was possible.

I am sure that UKFI would say that it's behaving in accordance with its official mandate, which is to take decisions purely on the basis of what's most likely to increase the value of the bank shares it owns.

The important background to all this is that the prime minister was intimately involved in promoting and supporting Lloyds' acquisition of HBOS.

Sir Victor and Mr Daniels did him a favour by doing the deal, because the alternative would have been full 100% nationalisation of HBOS.

Of course, that's not why they bought HBOS. Their motive was that they believed that the creation of a super-sized retail bank would lead to bigger profits.

It's the mounting evidence that such profits, if they exist, are a long way off which has so infuriated Lloyds' shareholders.

That said, the takeover was controversial from the very start. And many would say that Gordon Brown was indebted to Sir Victor for seeing it through.

In that context, it's striking that UKFI - an arm of the government, albeit one that claims not to be a political pawn - should have been prepared to vote against the re-election of Sir Victor.


  • Comment number 1.

    A good move that's been too long in coming. Blank took HBOS without too much thought to assist the government out of a hole. They should have considered their shareholders and account-holders before jumping to conclusions. Given that at the time the depth of the crisis and recession was know it is an even larger error that the RBS takeover of the Dutch bank.

    We don't need such blunderers at the top. It's a pity that the majority of the seven-figure salary bankers are still in their posts thanks to us for bailing them out.

  • Comment number 2.

    The question now is what reward may be in the pipeline for services to GB. A gold/platinum handshake will be there I'm sure and a generous pension pot - wonder if it rivals Sir Fred's?

    I'm sure that Gordon will want him into the Lords too...

  • Comment number 3.

    "UKFI feels that there is a global shortage of decent banking executives".
    Robert, I hope you had your tongue firmly in your cheek when that was written.
    You'll never get me to feel sorry for a bank chairman, but you sort of get the feeling that Sir Victor Blank has been "dropped in it".
    The HBOS deal can be best described with one word......panic.
    Corporal Jones was obviously not in the government at the time.

  • Comment number 4.

    The whole board of directors of LloydsTSB totally failed to exercise the fiducial duty they owed to their shareholders when they agreed to the take over of HBOS. This fiducial duty is a legal obligation not an optional extra to be abandoned for personal aggrandisement. They should all be sacked from the new company and, if financial regulation in this country were actually enforced, they would all also be banned from holding directorships in any public company.
    If all investment is indeed based on a balance of greed and fear, we would do better with directors who are rather more afraid and rather less greedy.

  • Comment number 5.

    sadly every thing has been said the only thing i can add is i hope the government gets the message and does the same .

  • Comment number 6.

    I think it is about time the key architect of the shotgun marriage of HBOS & Lloyds TSB should go. From the moment that the 'deal' was announced it has stank.... Announced in a fashion that inferred HBOS was the only bank with problems, announced in a fashion that assured everyone that by doing this deal that no public money would be at risk.... Each of those points has been found to be false.

    So, what was the motivation for the deal....? Some say it was to weaken the SNP... Moving control from Scotland and when it returns to profit, money too. Thats a multi billion £ hole in the SNP independence figurs. Either way, the whole deal still smells very bad and whilst The Guardian say the deal creates a 'National Banking Champion' that could not be further from the truth... Confusion at who owns who from all the brands now underneath Lloyds, the resultant reduction in competition as well as the thousands of jobs that will be lost... A nationalised HBOS would have been a much better prospect....

    All in all a Labour stitch up with the BBC doing nothing to challenge it, which is what one would expect from the Hon Robert Peston (labour luvvie & son of a labour peer) - how else do you expect he was consistently getting inside data from downing street...

    Goodbye Blank you will not be missed - lets just see how big your cheque is and what size your pension will be !!! If it is short then do not fret i am sure Gordon will look after you....

  • Comment number 7.

    The man has cost me a lot of money. To be fair, he is not alone at LTSB in their shambolic handling of the HBOS takeover. Or was it a merger? Or perhaps it was a reverse takeover whereby you buy a company in order to shaft your shareholders. Still, most of the latter are institutions, so why should they care, they had their stakes HBOS nicely catered for.

    Bitter. I certainly am....

  • Comment number 8.

    I can't believe that Sir V.B. "enthusiastically embraced" the HBOS deal.
    He would have known that HBOS was the biggest mortgage provider in the country.
    He would have known that mortgages (UK and US) were the cause of the disaster.
    He would have known that the UK property market was plummeting.
    The only answer must have been extreme political pressure.
    Let's hope it all works out OK (for everyones' sake).
    But what does UKFI think are the best attributes for a "decent banking executive"?
    The one who's got the best Bentley?
    The one who's got the best pin-striped suit?
    The one who speaks the best Queens English?
    The one who can get the lowest on his knees in front of the government?....possibly.
    The one with the biggest pockets?...possibly.
    The one who spends most of his time down the bookies or at the casino?...possibly.
    The one who would sell his granny for a fiver?....possibly.
    The one who can safely and successfully grow the company?....yes.
    The one who can recognise a bad risk?....yes.
    And it's the last one which has been left at home with the cornflakes for the last 10 years.

  • Comment number 9.

    You all noticed that I forgot one of the best attributes....
    The one who puts his customers first? (1% savings rates)

  • Comment number 10.

    Blank by name, Blank by nature... another incompetent top banker sails off into the sunset with an undeserved title and possible large pay off or/and pension for a job done badly.
    Any chance he could take the architect of all this upset and mess...crash gordon and his mottley crew with him.

  • Comment number 11.

    Why did it take so long?

    Why was he not sacked by the board?

    Perhaps he needed the time to negotiate his pension package...

  • Comment number 12.

    Amazing how short-term all these comments seem. Whilst it is true that Lloyds weren't given much time to mull over the full details and implications, the truth is that HBOS is a fine acquisition. Admittedly, it has its problem areas - mostly in BoS Corporate (those Scots not quite as savvy as they have been made out to be over the last 10 years) - but actually the mortgage business is in fine shape.

    With close on 30% of the market in so many areas of operation, it becomes the market. What will be really interesting to see over the coming years is whether its leaders truly deliver 'the most recommended bank' or whether they merely revert to type and rip ordinary folk and businesses off in the chase for the returns shareholders demand (including those who rant about their 'losses' on this page)

    Give it a couple of years and you will see a return to profitability; share value will recover and so will dividend income. Patience Stevewo... but I acknowledge your point about rates and charges!

  • Comment number 13.

    Awwwwwwwwhhhhhhhhh Commmmmmmon!!!

    We all know the HBoS deal was done on Gordy's insistance. It was done with nod and a wink. Gordy even rode rough-shod over anti-competition laws (monopolies and mergers law thus proving that politicians are above the law) to broker the deal.

    We won't begin to know the real truth when and until we know what old Vic's compensation package will be...will we?

  • Comment number 14.

    Re 12 Downhillwuss (that's a weird name).
    I hope it does return to profitability soon and the share price recovers.
    We pessimists have got the ends of our fingers missing, they're lying in the gaps on the keyboard.
    How did you get that name?

    "shortage of decent banking executives"....Robert has started me off.
    I'm going to put myself forward to be a "decent banking executive".
    But I'm not doing it for any old average salary.
    No, I want serious money.......I want 50k a year!
    I know it's outrageous, but I'm not going to do it for less.
    "Pricing myself out of the market"....alright 49k, but I want a cheese and pickle sandwich thrown in every lunchtime!

  • Comment number 15.

    The closing down of Nick Robinson's Newslog Blog is plain and simple political censorship.

  • Comment number 16.

    It would be in the public interest to see the Board Minute relating to the HBOS take over - I don'y suppose anyone is going to let you have a copy Robert?

  • Comment number 17.

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

  • Comment number 18.

    Come on alphaptarmigan do you expect Peston to bite the hand that fed him his 'inside stories' ??? Please...

    Of all the commentators Iain Martin has made the most sense on the HBOS debacle... He is challenging in his writing. Making well thought out observations and asking difficult questions.

    BBC coverage of this issue has been appalling.

    To raise points from Iain Martin, when Blank & Daniels started to go a bit squirrelly as they looked deeper inside HBOS their requests to reprice were denied, Gordon wanted the deal done and done quickly. Gordon Brown had to have the deal go through as he had to find a way to damage the SNP in his own back yard, Glenrothes where he was facing a by election defeat. By pushing this deal through he was able to say that the SNP were powerless and he was the hero securing Scottish jobs.

    What did Gordon promise Blank in return for this deal..? As Iain Martin says... 'What did Gordon Brown say to persuade them not to walk away? It is imperative the country finds out.'

    Robert - do some descent journalism for once, rathe than reporting what your Labour hacks tell you by the back door... Find the truth and deliver a real story that you researched and reported yourself rather than the Labour spinvox you have been to date !!!

    How about the fact that the only member of the HBOS board to retain a 'banking' job is the same lady whose role as head of HBOS risk was placed under such great scrutiny... When her department was found to be hopelessly flawed...

    Also, the only other member of the HBOS board to retain a job is Shane O'riordan.... The head of group communications. Day after day he was putting out press releases that said HBOS was solvent, when he and the rest of the board knew that it was not. He and the board told people including thousands of HBOS staff to 'invenst in this strong well capitalised bank'... Knowing full well that it was bust... There is a story Robert go after that one... Why are you not pushing for his arrest...?

    In the same way that Matt Crawford in the Archers has been charged with misrepresenting the financial position of a company, why are you not pushing this one...?

    Anything that upsets your Labour friends is not something you are intersted in - shame on you !!

  • Comment number 19.

    This is all good fun Robert but how about some words of guidance on where I can deposit my modest life savings where they will be secure and gain a reasonable level of interest? I thought I had spread them around safely only to find that two the havens I chose, in my ignorance, turn out to be part of the HBOS conglomerate... and the mutual Building Societies I was considering are part of a bewildering mish-mash of mergers and prospective take overs. Even the Post Office is managed by an Irish Bank, I have been told. Where have you put your bundle?

  • Comment number 20.

    UKFI - Yes very indepentent - they have agreed to the longest handover in history! - funny that it will be completed around the time of the next general election!
    As for Daniels and the fact that UKFI 'rates his management abilities' is frankly breathtaking, the man has destroyed Lloyds Bank. My labradors could have done a better job than these two!
    They both need to go now - who you put in place is not important, moral inside the bank is shot, the architects of arguably the worst corporate deal in British history must be fired.

  • Comment number 21.

    Sorry Beeb, re 17, I'll make my point without swearing....
    Perhaps we shouldn't forget when talking about the "potential success" of Lloyds-HBOS, there's 20 billion or so of taxpayers' money holding it up.
    Not too difficult to be "successful" under those conditions.
    Plus the guarantee scheme.

  • Comment number 22.

    18. At 12:21pm on 17 May 2009, ohmywordreally

    Your post is bang on the nail!

    Addendum to my post #13...

    I wonder when Blank gets to take his seat in the best 'gentlemens club' of them all...The House of Lords. By the looks of things Labour might need a couple of replacements there fairly soon anyway.

    A place in the Lords can be the only prize that Blank would have accepted for simply rolling over for Gordy. Rest assured you can bet his payoff/pension arrangements will be in extremely good order.


  • Comment number 23.

    Congratulations Robert, yet again you have avoided the temptation to look at the real issues and do some real journalism. Trotting out the backdoor leaks from Brown/Mandelson is the easier route I suppose.

    Why is Blank leaving? It can't be because the marriage is costing more than thought. That was posted here on numerous occasions prior to the merger, so I'm sure Blank and Daniels would have been very aware of the true cost. Is UKFI acting independently of Brown/Mandelsons wishes, there's more chance of MPs paying their own expenses. So why did they agree the merger, what pressure was brought to bear, what deals were made?

    Guess I'll have to go read one of your old employers to find out

  • Comment number 24.

    Sir Victor is a nice man. On the one hand it is a pity he is to go, but on the other he made a critical error that without taxpayer intervention could have destroyed his bank.

    There is a moral to this story. This the price bankers pay for getting too close to the political class. Banking is not about opportunism

  • Comment number 25.



  • Comment number 26.

    Victor should have gone over a year ago . He might then have salvaged some reputation. Now it is shredded, never to return.

  • Comment number 27.

    ........THANK GOD for that, as a lloyds shareholder whos been shafted by BLANK DANIELS AND BROWNS stitch up and lack of DUE DILLIGENCE, its a relief to see him falling on his for the other TWO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 28.

    A shame, but inevitable given the outcome (so far). Watch out for Lord Blank before the next election!

  • Comment number 29.




  • Comment number 30.

    I heard Blank being questioned by Jeff Randall about the HBOS takeover and the guy hadn't a clue. It seemed that Brown had persuaded him against his better judgement to do the HBOS deal. That at any rate was the impression I had.

    This sort of thing must not happen.

  • Comment number 31.

    Interestingly even when Barclays' does internal mergers due diligence is completed on assets that are transferred. So that tells you the high quality of Barclays' risk management.

    We now see how out of touch senior management at Lloyds Bank were. The takeover of HBOS was not only bad for Lloyds Bank, but for the Banking sector and British taxpayers. The unholy alliance of Brown and Blank just did not know what they were doing.

    HBOS should have been put into administration and the profitable parts sold off. The remaining assets should have been held to maturity or sold depending on maximising returns for the shareholders.

  • Comment number 32.

    If men were dominos, he'd be the double Blank.

  • Comment number 33.

    This announcement on a Sunday (amidst the biggest political corruption story ever) was rather thoughtful.

    A good day to 'dispose of' politically embarrasing news...if only the weather had been a bit sunnier today!

  • Comment number 34.

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

  • Comment number 35.

    good riddance to a man who brought a fine bank to its knees by serving the government instead of the shareholders....he failed in his statutory duty to protect the shareholders interests and as such should have been sacked months ago with no golden goodbye or pension. His action to takeover HBOS has ruined many people and he should not be allowed to benefit from it...

  • Comment number 36.

    Let's make absolutely sure that Sir Victor doesn't end up with a pension like Sir Fred's! Hopefully UKFI will make sure that won't happen. Both men have FAILED, Fred wa slucky but let's not repeat that fiasco!

  • Comment number 37.

    OK Robert,several people have made the point. which are you, a journalist or a labour hack? Time to prove it, either way.

  • Comment number 38.

    Re my earlier post, Robert. sure Gordo's still dangerous, but he won't be around much longer. Think of your long term future...

  • Comment number 39.

    sir victor blank ,never heard of him, i bet hes got a few bob though. Any body noticed how unkempt browns hairs getting? he looks like the mad proffessor,i was wondering if he was sleeping rough! brownwatch 379 days.

  • Comment number 40.

    west brom b/s rumours!!! so much for the green shoots , wheres a banker called blank when you need him.?

  • Comment number 41.

    So Blank has to step down so he was not sacked them so will not be signing on, on Monday then with Mr Daniels as Mr Blank who used to work for a living well gamble and he is no longer a Sir and is going to prison like any other man who mess up. He has a golden handshake and a pension and moved to his third home in a nice country and will become a none executive some money place and we will all forget about him till he dies but what ever they will not suffer nor will their family its a shame the rest of us can not have the same chose so do we care no. Shame most of the parties can not follow him and we can work on the mess. No one trusts bankers or anyone who has control off a huge amount of money and the know how, how to salt it away No I do believe in the tooth fairy or the credit crunch or the PMs who did not know what they were doing Blair did he shredded it all but we still know gods bother.

    I read Dickens when I was young and nothing has changed no matter how many laws have been brought in but the Govenment has messed up here and no well will not vote for the BNP this threat is dragged out every time cheats or the BNP whats the difference. I liked your tie the other night Robert very nice.

  • Comment number 42.

    A certain delightful pleasure in this -- Sir Victor Blank was the eminence grise behind recent attempts to "rationalise" the university of Oxford -- make it better run by handing over control to people like himself. There was a great deal of sneering criticism of dinosaurs when the plan was thrown out. Ivory towers vs. dynamic modern management. But now.... Oxford is still there, after 900 years, Sir Victor's creation lasted about 9 months, and has now consumed more taxpayers' money than Oxford in its entire existence. Dinosaurs 1, managers 0.

  • Comment number 43.

    Thanks to this man Lloyds are now handcuffed to a corpse.
    They should try and unload HBOS ASAP.
    They will be broken up after the next election anyway.

  • Comment number 44.

    I'm not a Lloyds shareholder thank goodness. But I do think that shareholders have had a dreadful deal due to the merger with HBOS.

    Has Mr Blank gone to avoid him having to answer difficult questions at the AGM. In particular, what pressure was applied by the Government to forgo normal due diligence and to rush the deal through

  • Comment number 45.

    Why is that the man on the street could see what a disaster the HBOS takeover would be, yet those running the shooting match couldn't. And let's also remember the Govt involvement in this - without it's say-so the Monopolies Commission would have vetoed the whole thing. AND why, at a time of such financial uncertainty, did Lloyds NOT undertake adequate due diligence and realise what a dreadfully bad idea this was! Will this be another failed fat cat being richly rewarded?

  • Comment number 46.

    No more blank cheques to go to the costumiers and buy cowboy outfits then. When do the shareholders drink two fingers of Jack Daniels.

  • Comment number 47.


    GO GORDY GO!!!

  • Comment number 48.

    It is now time for Daniel's and Tate(amongst others)to also follow suit. The damage to staff (in a number of ways)and other stakeholders will only get becomem greater.

    Appropriate risk management has not been onboarded and the future is not particularly bright. Poor negotiations with UKFI/Govt shows they should stay on the road and focus on main stream product lines.

    I would perhaps suggest that it is time to stop the decay of staff remuneration (made up by bonuses) and promptly seek to remunerate upfront properly.

  • Comment number 49.


    When are we going to hear what part Gordon Brown played in forcing this fiasco of a takeover, HBOS and Lloyds in the first place?

    This is the second most "fishy" thing going on right now after MP's expenses. When are you going to research why exactly Lloyds continued on this path to disaster? Decent clinical research and reporting is needed badly here. We do not trust politicians and only a few of the Media seem to care at all.

  • Comment number 50.

    So what's his pension then?

    Watch for headlines saying 'Blank Cheque'...

  • Comment number 51.

    It seems another case of move in haste repent at leisure.

    It is apparent once again that we do not know the full implications of this takeover of HBOS by Lloyds TSB which was a deal done overnight to save the the government further embarrassment.

    Not all banks were worthy of saving because of the huge future unknown risks to the taxpayer and HBOS is the prime example.

    Barclays have managed to restructure themselves through this crisis and had it not been subjected to government pressure Lloyds would have been able to do the same.

    Had HBOS been allowed to fail billions of future taxpayers money would not be at risk and the more profitable parts would have been bought up by other banks as in the case of Lehmans.

    It is never too late to reverse this situation before it brings the banking system back to the crisis of September 2008.

  • Comment number 52.

    ...Glad to see we've finally got rid of that bad case of V.B!

    Lets hope the LBG board don't write him a 'Blank cheque'...With all that shareholder goodwill in the bank...IT MIGHT BOUNCE!!!

  • Comment number 53.

    So Blank believes he will stay until 2010 does he?

    My vote is for Blank and his ex Lloyds colleagues to be fired without benefits of any kind and to be fully investigated for insider dealing and failure to properly discharge corporate responsibilities.

    Because Blank and his Director colleagues are responsible for abject failure and massive destruction of shareholder value.

    To lead Lloyds TSB nowhere for years is one thing. To then take on risks they had no proper knowledge or control over is bad. To then agree to purchase a huge pile of toxic debt over a supposed weekend without any due diligence is absolutely appalling. The bailouts and rights issues prove this beyond any doubt.

    Bottom line. Blank failed and should be removed from all corporate activities with full investigation into his role and financial activities.

    I want to see proof that the authorities establish beyond any doubt that people like Blank did not directly benefit from shorting their own companies. Such is the appalling track record of people like Blank over the past 2 years.

  • Comment number 54.

    Why do shareholders always moan and bitch? It's a gamble pure and simple. Besides it's the bargain of century. Bank of America have been doing the same thing for years. Thing of the look term, you lot.

  • Comment number 55.

    If Sir Victor has jumped before he is pushed, with a date of June 2010 he must have created a new world record for the long jump!! As parting gift for his efforts on behalf of shareholders, I think he should be awarded a Blankety Blank cheque book and pen, after all apart from Sir Fred Goodwin, who is more expert in dealing with 'funny money'?

  • Comment number 56.



  • Comment number 57.

    Well Sir Victor I wish I could say it has been a pleasure but I cannot. At a stroke you have transformed a once proud city institution into a laughing stock. You have destroyed shareholder value and that means a life of misery for many shareholders relying on dividends. In many cases these holdings have been built up over years . I am glad to see the back of you but please don't wait for the appointment of a successor. Go now!

  • Comment number 58.

    Blank cheques out.

  • Comment number 59.

    BankSlickerminustheR puts the finger in the right place. Over a drinks arty it is decided that the anti-trust,competiton,etc laws do not apply to "us" the boys who can do deals behind everybody's backs..... Furthermore LLoyds has the gall to admit to a Parliamentary commisiison that thy did not do sufficient due dilligence. What are these guys paid for ? Present excuses ? admit their incompetence? Eye greedily the profits as if we wer still in preSeptember2008 deal making of the worst kind? There is no conspiracy to bring down the SLP or anything else... just total blindness, total idiocy and fat pensions,favours,and back slapping for some boys playing with the livelihhod of thousands of employess. Don't ever think that " al alba vincero" as Pavarotti used to sing.

  • Comment number 60.

    Nice to see financial services industry taking a more long term view of things!!!!!!

    Lloyd TSB resisted the short term gain through the Silly Years, much to the annoyance of some shareholders....

    Yes it's been Sold a Pup on this occasion, but we really haven't learnt anything if banks are to be managed on the basis of short term share price manipulation - are you listening UKFI

  • Comment number 61.

    West Bromwich building society, which celebrated its 160th anniversary this year, has a loan book worth almost £10 billion. It is being secretly offered to potential white-knight bidders by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the City regulator.........any comment robert?

  • Comment number 62.

    54. At 8:58pm on 17 May 2009, ChrisPorritt wrote:
    Why do shareholders always moan and bitch? It's a gamble pure and simple. Besides it's the bargain of century. Bank of America have been doing the same thing for years. Thing of the look term, you lot.


    By viewing investment as a gamble is precisely how we ended up in this mess. There is a big difference between analysing risk & return and sticking a bundle on red. The main problem here being, Blank/Daniels for some reason unknown to most of us, proceeded with a merger when they knew the price was wrong. Whether it was vanity, ego, political pressure or they felt lucky we don't know but it certainly didn't make good business for LTSB shareholders.

    I do agree with you that this may turn out to be a masterstroke by Blank in the long term, but his failure was to pay an inflated price which starts to make it look like a gamble gone wrong all over again

  • Comment number 63.

    What ever the short term problems of the takeover of HBOS were for LTSB, the simple fact that no bank will be allowed to fail is all the shareholders need to know. A few years of reduced or no dividens and then bingo, a super bank has been created which in the not to distant future will be returning record profit for its shareholders and large bonuses fo its top execs. All this sacraficial lamb rubbish with Blank is just that, a sacrificial lamb to keep the electorate happy that something is happening.

    As with most problems and puzzles in science and nature the simplest explanation is usualy the correct one. I do not see any difference with respect to human nature, economics, banking, politics. The bankers at the top gambled with every one elses money to benifit themselves at the expense of a disaster in the economics of the whole world. The politicians have bailed out said bankers with our money, a few heads need to role to placate the masses that are paying for the mess. In the mean time a huge bank has been created which will be indebted to the politicians for bailing it out, and giving it a way round the monopolies and mergers rules. When the politicians get voted out at the next election lots of nice non-exec or exec jobs for them in the newly created monster, and time to start fleecing the masses again until it all bursts again. Same old same old, nothing changes.

  • Comment number 64.

    54. At 8:58pm on 17 May 2009, ChrisPorritt wrote:
    Why do shareholders always moan and bitch? It's a gamble pure and simple. Besides it's the bargain of century. Bank of America have been doing the same thing for years. Thing of the look term, you lot.

    We moan because we pay the men at the top large wads of cash to reduce the risk of our gamble. These guys are supposed (and I believe are legally obliged, although in the UK they and Government appear to be above the Law) to be looking after our funds (and maybe your pension funds as well as our private shares), not using them as personal stakes in the gamble for titles and more wads of cash. The only people who don't take a risk appear to be the Officers of the Company and Members of Parliament , not even the faint risk of being prosecuted. I just wish the Yanks would ask to extradite some more UK Bankers, and I live in the hope that one day Brown and/or Blair stop off somewhere,rather like Pinochet in London, and find Mr Plod or their foreign equivalent's hand on their collar. I could then be persuaded that maybe , just maybe ,Blair was right on one thing, that there is a God!

  • Comment number 65.

    60. At 10:21pm on 17 May 2009, thinkb4 wrote:
    Nice to see financial services industry taking a more long term view of things!!!!!!

    Lloyd TSB resisted the short term gain through the Silly Years, much to the annoyance of some shareholders....

    Yes it's been Sold a Pup on this occasion, but we really haven't learnt anything if banks are to be managed on the basis of short term share price manipulation - are you listening UKFI

    The big problem with shares is that small shareholders are basically stuffed, they deal in a 'fixed market', they also have no control over their companies e.g I don't know of one small shareholder of Lloyds (and I know several) who voted to take over HBOS, mainly because we were also HBOS shareholders and we didn't trust our own board after the 4 Billion rights issue when we were assured everything in the Garden was rosy! The 98% vote in favour presumably was the fund managers and the 'insiders' all thinking they were on to a winner, or else gambling they would be.

    I'm no longer interested in putting cash in shares, as far as I'm concerned it is even less safe than buying a second hand car from a bloke in the pub, and in the UK, the spivs are safe from the law, it appears.

  • Comment number 66.

    It is a truism that absolutely every business on earth is basically trying to get a monopoly on something (whether on ideas, over existing customers accounts, in market sectors or in whole markets themselves) because they know that this will lead to higher margins, and there could not be a clearer example of the lengths to which businesses will go to try to achieve one (or at least a dominant position in a market, which is the next best thing).

    Lloyds TSB badly miscalculated that the possible unknowns inside HBOS were greatly outweighed by the potential for a near monopoly on offer from the government once the two organisations were run together.

    Unfortunately the bad news is not going to stop here.

    The government, as part of its reorganisation of the financial system of the UK is absolutely going to have to recant on this deal big-time, and start reducing the size of the banks, so we can achieve a 'no bank is too big to fail' situation, and greater levels of competition, and Blank and Daniels mega-retail bank will never ever be allowed to happen.

    Moral of the tale.... don't kid yourself you ever have a gentlemans 'deal' with politicians, because you never do. Those things only happen in dictatorships and banana republics....

  • Comment number 67.

    The small print warns that the value of shares can fall as well as rise. It was great when all these knights were leading banks into getting massive profits which paid large dividends to their shareholders. They were taking risks. Everyone knew about the dodgy loans or perhaps no one made the connection between individuals who were over borrowing - after all there was considerable concern about the level of borowing - and the level of lending. No one seemed to ask who was doing this crazy lending. People congratulated themselves on being 'prudent'. After all they were saving by investing in something as solid as a bank, not taking out crazy loans.

    The bank was making lots of money. But where were the profits coming from? Oh yes, from the crazy borrowing which were really crazy loans made by the knights who were making us so much money. Did we move our money into safer, but more secure investments? No, lots put more into the banks to cash in on these wonderful profits. What's more the price of the shares went up so we got even richer. Let's take over an ailing bank, we'll get more profits even though we know that it is failing and in trouble. We are invincible and the shareholders believe that their knight is wonderful. Until ......

    Oh dear. We knew bubbles were bursting all around, but not our bubble. We had thought small print was something thay had to put in, though it would never become true. We thought capitalism means that your money always grows. Or had we thought carefully at all. We had put our trust in banks. But is trust being used as as euphemism for saying we had stopped thinking for ourselves.

  • Comment number 68.

    15 Sept 2008: Gordon "Premiership of Doom" Brown approaches Victor Blank at cocktail party and assures huim that competition law will not be a block to a takeover of HBOS

    18 Sept 2008: Deal announced

    And the lesson: Take one good bank (LLoyds was always more conservative than the rest), add political pressure from the worst PM in living memomry and hey presto, you bring down LLoyds AND HBOS!

  • Comment number 69.

    All of this keeps coming back to Gordon Browns abysmal handling of the economy both whilst as chancellor and as PM. Regardless of his personal qualities, the man has no financial or business instinct, judgement or acumen whatsoever.

  • Comment number 70.

    Taking the mick out of Sir Victors "bubble-car" was a bit below the belt.

    The story of the gross misjudgement in the heat of the moment was the bigger story.

    That misjudgement was replicated with interest rates (as I've said before).

    We now have the situation where people with savings are getting no return, and the money is being used to subside those with debt. That situation is fundamentally wrong and it needs to be put right - soon !

  • Comment number 71.

    I'm still curious. Lloyds troubles are reported to gravitate around the problems with the HBOS Corporate loans and the HBOS aggressive sales culture. So far Lloyds have only announced two areas of job redundancy as part of their integration - notably 900 jobs in car finance. Maybe my logic is skewed here but this presumably means the entire HBOS Corporate team remains in place, unchanged and unchallenged, yes? Wouldn't it make more sense for both financial and investor-relations reasons to address this area first???

  • Comment number 72.

    There are a lot of savers who will agree with your observations. borrowers using savers cash for free ! So much for being prudent and trying to be self sufficient.
    Perhaps one of the so called "Mutual Building Societies" will start to lend money at reasonable interest rates to good customers and then pay a half decent rate of interest to those who's money they are using. I dont hold my breath, I bank with a so called good old "Mutual" soon to skip over to the coast and rescue a troubled rival, whilst doing so they use tactics worthy of the big banks in paying nothing to long standing savers and still pretending to be a "Mutual" for their customers benefit ! Are these current "Mutual Directors" any more trustworthy than the Blancs of this world ! If they were, they would offer transparent and fair rates and not hide behind a muddled rate card. They are owned by the Members, or so we are told, yet they have free reign to treat people just has the big banks have done, who were (or supposed to be ) owned by their shareholders, who never get a true picture or a chance to question the Directors. Blanc will also Skip off, untouched and with vast pension. All allowed by the worst Prime Minister EVER to hold office in this once great country. Shambles following shambles and NO ONE brought to book. Adam of the North East is happily enjoying the fruits of his customers losses and seems untouchable, just has Blair has done and just has Brown and his useless Government cheats will do.

    Not one has the decency to even acknowledge the grief and suffering they have caused to the Country. They should share a cell together with Goodwin and et al !

  • Comment number 73.

    I can't help but feel that Blank's departure is actually one of those things that 'just happens'.

    It's not good or bad - except perhaps for him personally.

    I'm also getting suspicious that someone at UKFI has finally worked it out that banks are going to have to evolve into something new and different from what was going on a year or two ago and may be exerting pressure to bring around such a culture change within the group.

    It's like the 'Tesco chicken' thing really. For years 'experts' specifically bred chickens for more 'yield', ignoring factors like animal welfare, texture, taste, customer views, etc. And they delivered more yield, but at costs that many customers - at the 'business' end of the chain - became no longer interested in buying.

    Bankers for years have lived in a world of increased 'yield' - more profits, more bonus, need to be up on last quarter. But people have seen through the con-trick of living on credit driven by the need of your bank manager seeking to be kept in a fashion to which s/he would truly love to remain accustomed. The truth is - it's unsustainable.

    And I think - perhaps with foolish, if not delusional, optimism - this little incident might just be the turning point.

    This might just be the point where enough people in banking twig that the game has changed.

    In fact, the more the 'big bosses' are sent packing, the more the people under them will reconsider just what truly makes for 'good' banking (verus 'bad' banking), in order to attempt to protect their own futures and save their own skins.

    Perhaps, the internal organisational cultures of some banks, and may be even the industry, are beginning to turn around a bit.

  • Comment number 74.

    So Victor pays the price of cosying up with politics.

    Oh dear! Just goes to show how even the mighty fall when mixing business with politics.
    Stabbing friends in the back and empty promises are par for the course. Even friends aren't bomb proof it seems.

    The word on the street has, for decades, been never trust a politician. It seems poor Victor didn't know this.

    Another sacrificial lamb, then?

    His severance package will be...?

    All very interesting sideways gossip, Robert, but what about the real world outside the ivory towers?

  • Comment number 75.

    So much complaining about those nasty selfish bankers. But they couldn't lend money if people didn't want it - we get what we wish for. so its time to wish for something different-or stop complaining about it.

  • Comment number 76.

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

  • Comment number 77.

    @75 eloquentkate: Who is this "we"? Borrowers are being bailed out (by holding interest rates down, against underlying inflation[1] of over 20%). It's the prudent who are being robbed.

    [1] See for example
    which shows the calculation of 21.6% for February 2009. And
    for emerging details of how it's actually worse than that, due to ONS statistics being messed up.

  • Comment number 78.

    Well ,it looks as though another banker will be joining the mile high colonoosion club, to feed off the banksters indexed linked cash bonanza 6 billion dollar ring fenced pension pot, at the begining middle and end of their brainbowl,whilst lesser joe morons fed on the colapsable derrivatives find the total pot value[cash plus deflated derivatives] potentialy shrinking to six billion dollars ,could leave them with a potential actuarialy adjusted reward of 00 to suck on in old age .

    Thats equitable life for you and the bankstiring tutts who circumventilated eachothers hyperrbolics to hang over the gardens of babylon[don]

  • Comment number 79.

    As far as I can remember, the deal between Lloyds TSB and the ailing HBOS was one made out of mercy.

    A simple viewing of new Halifax adverts can tell you that a return to sensibility is on the cards.

    What Sir Victor has appeared to have done is saved the jobs of HBOS employees, at the expense of the shareholder. From what I know, shareholders can afford to receive a few less bob (or wonga), but there you go.

  • Comment number 80.

    Blank-ety Blank ??

  • Comment number 81.

    Yeah it's hard on the old boy. My wife lost her job the other day too.


  • Comment number 82.

    Robert Peston:

    I am sad that Blank has decided to quit Lloyds.......

    =Dennis Junior=


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.