Halifax boosts Lloyds as it reports best interim profit in eight years

'‹Lloyds Banking Group'‹ has announced its biggest half year profit in eight years, but the news was overshadowed by a hit of almost £1bn to cover insurance mis-selling and failures over mortgage policies.

Lloyds said that although the economy remains resilient, it is starting to tighten lending standards

Britain’s largest retail bank'‹ was boosted by strong trading at the Halifax, which Lloyds bought at the height of the banking crisis. Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said: “Halifax has had a great first half and continues to make a significant contribution to Lloyds Banking Group’s results. Our performance has been driven by some really eye-catching campaigns and innovative products.“The industry current account switching data published earlier this week confirmed Halifax was the most switched to bank last year. More customers chose to switch to the Halifax than any other bank, with almost 112,000 new customers making the move.”The Halifax reintroduced its £125 switching offer during the first half.Mr Galley said the monthly Halifax Savers Prize Draw, which provides savings customers with the chance to win up to £100,000, continues to be popular and has now paid out more than £44m in prize money to 74,000 customers since it began. It has also recently run a number of Superdraws which have had top prizes of £500,000.The Halifax has also introduced benefits for customers who take out loans with the bank.“This year we’ve introduced Loan with a Twist. This sees 10 customers every month entered into a draw to have their Halifax personal loans paid off in full and demonstrates how we’re pushing forward new innovations to give customers extra,” said Mr Galley.He said that the Halifax has played a key role in supporting Lloyds to realise its commitment to lend £10bn to first-time buyers as part of its Helping Britain Prosper plan. “So far we’ve helped thousands of customers make the first step on to the property ladder in 2017 and our current £750 cashback mortgage campaign for first-time buyers and home-movers is also proving successful,” he said.Lloyds reported '‹'‹a '‹4 per cent increase in '‹pre'‹-'‹tax profit '‹to '‹Â£2.5'‹bn '‹in the six months to June 30 as the lender reported its first set of results since the bank exited '‹G'‹overnment ownership.The increase in profits, which was below analyst expectations, was driven by higher revenues. But it was tempered by a higher-than-expected bill for compensating customers mis-sold loan payment insurance in what is Britain’s costliest consumer scandal.The bank set aside a further '‹Â£'‹700'‹m to compensate people mis-sold the insurance policies, nine months after saying it had hopefully drawn a line under the issue.'‹'‹Lloyds said the new charge to compensate customers mis-sold loan insurance should be the last major provision until the end of the claims deadline in 2019.For years '‹Lloyds '‹has been drained by costs related to conduct issues and '‹the latest compensation bill '‹takes the bank’s total cost to cover the mis-selling of payment protection insurance to '‹Â£18'‹bn.Lloyds also agreed to pay '‹Â£'‹283'‹m in compensation to mortgage customers who incurred fees after they fell behind with their mortgage payments.Total income rose 4 per'‹ '‹cent to '‹Â£'‹9.3'‹bn.Lloyds said it would pay an interim dividend of 1'‹p per share, up 18 per'‹ '‹cent on last year.'‹'‹The bank said that although the economy remains resilient'‹,'‹ it is starting to tighten lending standards in consumer finance.'‹'‹A'‹nalyst Gary'‹ Greenwood at Shore Capital said: “These are strong interims with '‹the '‹capital generation target re-affirmed despite taking a further £1bn of additional conduct provisions.'‹“'‹Lloyds’ interim results show better than expected underlying profit performance and a slightly higher than expected dividend.'‹”In separate news, Lloyds Bank said it has strengthened its support to SMEs with two senior appointments.Simon Quin, who previously worked as head of international trade at the bank, will now serve as area director for SME Global Transaction Banking Yorkshire the North East and Scotland.Tracy Gillett will take up the newly created role of working capital solutions director.

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