Lloyds to Boost Lending to Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses

Lloyds Banking Group Plc plans to boost lending to small- and medium-sized businesses by more than 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) this year and offer mortgages to more than 80,000 first-time home buyers.

The London-based lender will have the initiatives independently monitored in a bid to regain customer trust for an industry whose reputation suffered after the financial crisis, Chief Executive Officer Antonio Horta-Osorio said in an e-mailed statement.

“Words alone are not enough to change public perception and regain trust,” Horta-Osorio said. “We must be able to provide meaningful commitments and allow ourselves to be independently measured against those.”

The U.K.’s biggest mortgage lender said Jan. 28 it’s removing 1,400 jobs in its consumer, risk, operations and corporate banking businesses. Lloyds has cut more than 30,000 positions and closed overseas units to focus on Britain since its 20 billion-pound taxpayer rescue in 2008. Horta-Osorio is seeking to strengthen the bank’s balance sheet by selling assets and cutting costs.

The bank on Feb. 1 unveiled a commitment to have 40 percent of its senior jobs filled by women by 2020. Other pledges include giving a minimum of 100 million pounds to charity by 2020.

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