Britain has sold its last remaining stake in Lloyds Banking Group , making the lender the first to re-emerge from British state ownership in a symbolic step for the country's recovering banking sector. Kate King reports.
A symbolic step for Britain's banking sector as Lloyds returns to private ownership, nine years after it was bailed out by the UK government. Offloading the final stake in the bank - marking the end of one chapter of the 2008 financial crisis. SOUNDBITE (English) SENIOR FX STRATEGIST, RABOBANK, JANE FOLEY, SAYING: "It is significant both from the government's perspective really and really for the taxpayer that we've reached this level. It's not a surprise I think over the last couple years there has been good news with respect to lloyd's. And I think this state was widely expected by the market and beyond." Lloyds ran into trouble after an ill-fated government-brokered takeover of rival HBOS It was left 30 billion dollars worth of losses. The government then spent more 25 billion dollars to keep it afloat Lloyds says the British taxpayer's made more than 100 million dollars in profit from the bailout That though, doesn't take into account inflation or the true cost of borrowing during the crisis. None the less it could be good timing, with the UK economy currently under duress. SOUNDBITE (English) SENIOR FX STRATEGIST, RABOBANK, JANE FOLEY, SAYING: "We can see this in retail sales data that began to take a turn for the worse in December. We can see it now in housing data too that has weakened as well. So several indicators suggesting that the rise in inflation is having an impact on the consumer space." To get back in shape Lloyds underwent significant change shedding more than 57-thousand jobs and scaling back its lending. It's competitors haven't been as forthcoming, Only around half of the 177 billion dollars of direct cash injected into Britain's five bailed-out banks has so far been recovered.