Lloyds makes £2bn profit

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FOR the first time since it was bailed out during the financial crisis, Lloyds Banking Group has seen a pre-tax profit of £2.21bn.

The group, which is 41%-owned by the government, suffered a £6.3bn loss in 2009.

A rise in High Street banking offset rising bad debts in the Republic of Ireland however its overall cost of bad loans fell by £9bn to £13bn.

Eric Daniels, chief executive, received a £1.45m bonus for 2010. He said it had been an “important year, marking our return to profitability, and a further reduction in risk in our business”.

“Our significant progress in the year has positioned the group well to become the best bank in the UK for all our stakeholders.”

The group also said its bad debts had been trimmed due to the “slowly improving economic environment”, but warned problems in the Irish Republic had worsened at the end of the year.

Australia was also cited as a country with “specific economic challenges”, due to property values outside the major cities being weak.

Lloyds said its profit figures had been heavily adjusted to reflect the acquisition of Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) in 2009.