Lloyds swings to a loss after Covid hit

The head of Lloyds Banking Group said that the impact of the coronavirus has been profound as the bank took a bigger than expected hit that pushed it into a loss.

The news sent Lloyds, which owns Halifax Bank, into the red

Chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio said the business had taken a £2.4bn impairment charge in the second quarter for loans that it thinks might go bad.

It is almost £1bn ahead of the £1.5bn charge that analysts were expecting.

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The news sent Lloyds, which owns Halifax Bank, into the red, with the firm racking up a £602m pre-tax loss for the first half of the year.

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said Halifax has launched a number of initiatives to help customers get through the pandemic.

“Payment holidays have provided breathing space and flexibility for those who have faced unexpected financial challenges, and the majority of customers who have taken a payment holiday are now restarting their payments,” said Mr Galley.

“We have built a dedicated online support tool to make it easier for customers reaching the end of their payment holidays to see the different options available.

“We continue to focus our energy on being there for our customers – from our branches, call centres and from their kitchens and living rooms – our colleagues’ commitment has been overwhelming every day during the challenges of the past few months.”

He said Halifax branch colleagues have made thousands of well-being calls to customers to explain what help is available and the bank has also built a number of online tools to help customers get the right information quickly.

“Customers who are facing travel disruption as a result of the pandemic are also benefiting from the additional insurance and support provided through the Halifax Ultimate Reward Current Platinum account and the new travel disruption tool on our website helps customers manage cancelled or rearranged trips, and includes advice on reclaiming spent funds,” he added.

“We have already seen a sharp rise in mortgage application calls since the lockdown measures were lifted, with a 100 per cent increase in calls in June compared to May, and the recent changes to Stamp Duty will provide another boost.”