Lloyds’ pledge to have more women at the top

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Lloyds Banking Group yesterday pledged that 40 per cent of its top 5,000 jobs will be occupied by women within six years.

The planned increase from the current level of 28 per cent is among a series of commitments being made by chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio.

They also include a pledge to boost net lending to small and medium-sized business by more than £1bn this year and the support of more than 80,000 first-time buyers, up from last year’s target of 60,000.

Mr Horta-Osorio, who will unveil the bank’s Helping Britain Prosper Plan at a speech tomorrow, said the commitments were an important step in regaining trust in the banking industry.

It comes a few weeks after the group was fined a record £28m over incentive schemes that rewarded staff with ‘champagne bonuses’ and put advisers under pressure to hit sales targets or face demotion.

The group, rescued by the taxpayer during the financial crisis after swallowing up Halifax Bank of Scotland, remains 33 per cent state-owned.

Mr Horta-Osorio said: “Rebuilding a sound reputation founded on the highest standards of responsible behaviour is key to the industry’s long-term success. But words alone are not enough to change public perception.

“We must be able to provide meaningful commitments and allow ourselves to be independently measured against those.”

The commitments will be independently monitored and reviewed every year.