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Lloyds invests to keep pace with changing consumers

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Lloyds Bank said it will invest £3bn in new technology and staff to adapt to changing consumer banking habits.

The group announced earlier this year that it would be axing 900 jobs, but creating 450 new ones as part of this change.

Chief executive Antonio Horta Osorio told BBC Radio 4: “Our customers want better products they want more convenience. They want safer products.”

Horta Osario said that Lloyds would make an additional £6bn available for small business lending in the UK over the next three years and provide £10bn more to first-time buyers.

Lloyds also said it would look at expanding into the financial planning and retirement market, targeting one million new pension customers by 2020. Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said Scottish Widows is likely to play a pivotal role in this ‘pensions land grab’, adding: “This lends some context to the recently announced prospective withdrawal of £109bn of assets from Standard Life Aberdeen.”

The bank had to set aside more for a new wave of payment protection insurance (PPI) claims. The group has set aside an extra £600m in the fourth quarter of last year to pay compensation over mis-sold PPI, bringing the annual total to £1.6bn. The Financial Conduct Authority campaign featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger is thought to have prompted an increase in compensation claims.

Khalaf added: “We can expect further adjustment of the Lloyds PPI war chest to reflect consumer behaviour as we head towards the August 2019 deadline, though these are likely to be incremental tweaks to the existing budget.”

The latest set of results brought good news for shareholders. The group’s pre-tax profit climbed 24% to £5.3bn. This was behind consensus, but future forecasts were strong and the group increased its full-year dividend by 20% to 3.05p per share.

Khalaf said: “The combination of the dividend and the new share buyback scheme means shareholders are getting a pretty tasty 6% return on their investment.”

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