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High street banks set to write off further £32bn

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High Street banks are this week forecast to write off a combined £32bn as the recession bites, exacerbating the difficulties facing businesses and households in making loan repayments on time.

The biggest writedown - of up to £11bn - is forecast to come from Lloyds Banking Group, largely as a result of problems inside its HBOS businesses. But the bank, 43% owned by the taxpayer, is expected to reveal that it believes the worst is over, even though bad debts could remain high for some time.

Despite the scale of the losses on loans, many banks may manage to remain in the black, helped by complex accounting rules relating to the way they value their own debt and acquisitions.

Under pressure from the government to help kick-start the ailing economy by increasing lending to homeowners and businesses, the banks will admit that they are meeting targets for mortgages but missing those for small business loans because of a reluctance by companies to borrow.

 

The interim results are expected to show record performances from the banks' investment banking divisions, with Barclays expected to be the main beneficiary following its takeover of the Wall Street operations of Lehman Brothers. Bonuses are expected to be higher by the end of the year, including for those bankers from Lehman, potentially exacerbating tensions with some staff over changes to the bank's final salary pension scheme.

 

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High street banks set to write off further 32bn | Business | The Observer


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