LLOYDS BANK boss Antonio Horta Osorio looked set to bow out on a high as the group reported profits of £1.9 billion in the first quarter, his last before he departs to become chairman of troubled Swiss lender Credit Suisse.
Those profits were well ahead of City expectations, giving hope that the UK economy is already bouncing back strongly from Covid.
Lloyds is regarded as a proxy for the economy since it is such a UK focused lender.
Lloyds mortgage book grew £6 billion, with nearly £4 billion lent to first time buyers.
Horta-Osório was paid £4.7 million last year. Since he arrived in 2011 he has received about £60 million from the bank, which was bailed out by the taxpayer after merging with HBOS.
He said: “The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a significant impact on people, businesses and communities in the UK and around the world. Whilst we are seeing positive signs, notably the progress of the vaccine roll-out and the emergence from lockdown restrictions, the outlook remains uncertain. The Group remains absolutely focused on supporting its customers and Helping Britain Recover from the financial effects of the pandemic.”
His chairman Robin Budenberg said:
“As this is António’s last set of results, I would like to take this opportunity to thank him, on behalf of the Board, for his outstanding contribution. Over the last decade he has led the transformation of the business; delivering its purpose of Helping Britain Prosper whilst creating a truly customer focussed business underpinned by strong financial foundations.”
Lloyds shares, one of the most common holdings of retail investors, remain in the doldrums.
They open today at 44p, lower than when Horto-Osorio arrived.