Lloyds chief dismisses talk of ending banks' merger

SUGGESTIONS that the controversial "shotgun wedding" between Lloyds TSB and Bank of Scotland could be unscrambled are dismissed today by Susan Rice, managing director of Lloyds Banking Group in Scotland, in an exclusive interview in Scotland on Sunday.

"The group is two-thirds of the way along its integration," Rice said. "It is the biggest corporate integration of two companies in Europe, so it's quite a massive undertaking. We're ahead of schedule."

Sir John Vickers, chairman of the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB), recently said the merger was a "mistake".

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However, Rice, in her interview today, points out the impracticalities of unscrambling the 2008 merger as there is no distinctive stand-alone business of HBOS such as an investment banking arm that could be easily detached. Both are high street retail banking businesses.

• Susan Rice rejects talk of HBOS demerger