Lloyds Banking Group swung to a first-half profit on Thursday and announced an interim dividend, boosted by a house buying frenzy and improved economic outlook in Britain.
By Iain Withers and Lawrence White
LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) - Lloyds Banking Group LLOY.L swung to a first-half profit on Thursday and announced an interim dividend, boosted by a house buying frenzy and improved economic outlook in Britain.
Lloyds posted pre-tax profit of 3.9 billion pounds ($5.43 billion) for the six months to June, ahead of the 3.1 billion pound average of analyst forecasts compiled by the bank.
The bank had posted a first-half loss of 602 million pounds the previous year, after setting aside billions to cover potential bad loans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lloyds also announced a 0.67 pence interim dividend, a day after Barclays unveiled more than $1 billion worth of shareholder payouts.
The bank released 656 million pounds of its bad loan provisions, after upgrading its economic forecasts following a rapid rollout of vaccines in Britain.
But its results were weighed down by 425 million pounds of remediation charges, including compensation for historic fraud at its HBOS Reading branch.
The bank also confirmed the acquisition of digital savings and retirement group Embark, adding 410,000 customers and 35 billion pounds of assets.
Like rivals, Lloyds is looking to expand in wealth management amid a pandemic-driven savings boom, to make up for squeezed margins from record low Bank of England rates.
($1 = 0.7178 pounds)
(Reporting by Iain Withers and Lawrence White Editing by Rachel Armstrong)
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