Lloyds Banking Group is to pay a dividend to its three million shareholders for the first time since it was rescued by the taxpayer in 2008.
The landmark in the lender’s recovery, resulting in payments totalling £535 million, came as it announced a fourfold rise in annual profits to £1.8 billion.
Lloyds was rescued after a £20 billion taxpayer injection in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis led to it being 40 per cent owned by the Government. That stake has since been reduced to 24 per cent, meaning the Treasury will pick up £130 million from the company’s 0.75p a share dividend payment.
Chancellor George Osborne said the pay-out, which required regulatory approval, was good news for millions of savers who hold Lloyds shares or have money invested in Lloyds through their pensions.
He added: “Today’s results are another major milestone in the recovery of the British economy from the great recession and the bank bailouts.”
The bank disclosed an annual bonus pool of £369.5 million, a decline of 3.6 per cent on the previous year, and said its chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio received £11.5 million for 2014.
This includes more than £7 million from a long-term share-based plan which was linked to the bank’s performance for the three years since 2012.