News & Analysis

Lloyds Bank earnings out tomorrow with milestone acquisition on the cards

Andrew Saks, Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Lloyds Bank, once the world's largest retail banking company, has had its fair share of ups and downs, as has any major bank over the last 15 years.

Ever since the 2008 financial crisis, big banks have been the target of regulators attempting to ensure they keep to a conservative modus operandi. They have also been subject to government bailouts which have resulted in partial - and in some cases total - state ownership and have spent over 10 years licking open wounds.

Now, things are looking up, which is remarkable considering the exposure to government-sanctioned 'Bounce Back Loans' that the major banks are now up to their knees in. Quite the opposite of what would perhaps have been expected, that being sinking fortunes due to lockdowns and loans, has come about.

Today, Lloyds Bank stock is holding up well, largely because the anticipation around the release of its earnings tomorrow is now in focus.

Lloyds Bank is set to announce the forthcoming acquisition of Embark Group, a privately owned provider of savings and retirement products, which is interesting given that Lloyds Bank has a history of operating very comprehensive life assurance and pensions divisions dating back several years.

In the late 1980s, the company founded Black Horse Life, which was a large life assurance and pensions subsidiary, and then in the 1990s the company bought Scottish Widows, which is a 206-year-old life insurance and pensions company located in Edinburgh, Scotland.

If the Embark acquisition goes ahead, the deal will represent Lloyds Bank's most significant since it was bailed out by the British taxpayer with a £20 billion capital injection in 2008.

It has been some years since Lloyds Bank returned to full private ownership, having paid back the debt it owed to the taxpayer over four years ago.

Given that Lloyds Bank is one of the only major British banks that does not have an investment banking or institutional electronic trading division and is purely a traditional bank serving business and retail customers, this level of growth and stability is remarkable.

Share prices opened this morning at a five-day high, and have tailed off slightly over the course of the day but are still higher than any point over the past five days.

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