Home » News » FTSE 100 » Lloyds Banking Group plc Continues to make strong strategic progress
Lloyds Banking Group plc

Lloyds Banking Group plc Continues to make strong strategic progress

Lloyds Banking Group plc (LON: LLOY) have today provided the following half year results.

The Group has continued to make strong strategic progress during the first half of 2019 and delivered a good financial performance with market leading efficiency and returns. The economy has remained resilient although economic uncertainty has led to some softening in business confidence as well as in international economic indicators. In this environment our strategy continues to be the right one and we are well placed to support our customers and continue to help Britain prosper.

António Horta-Osório, Group Chief Executive

Strong strategic progress and the right strategy in the current environment

· The economy has remained resilient however, as indicated at the first quarter results, the continuing uncertainty is having an impact and leading to some softening in business confidence as well as in international economic indicators

· The Group has taken a prudent approach to growth and risk in recent years, whilst reducing costs and increasing the investment in the business for the benefit of our customers

· Since the launch of GSR3 in 2018, the Group has invested £1.5 billion in improving customer experience, increasing efficiency and delivering superior returns. This investment means the Group is well placed to continue to support its customers, help Britain prosper and deliver sustainable returns for shareholders

Good financial performance with market leading efficiency and returns

· Statutory profit after tax of £2.2 billion with strong return on tangible equity of 11.5 per cent; earnings per share of 2.7 pence

· Robust underlying profit of £4.2 billion with slightly lower net income and expected higher impairment offset by lower total costs

· Net income of £8.8 billion with a resilient net interest margin of 2.90 per cent, slightly lower average interest earning banking assets and other income, with other income benefiting from strong performance in Insurance and Wealth

· Total costs of £4.0 billion down 5 per cent with operating costs down 3 per cent and remediation down 44 per cent. Market leading cost:income ratio further improved to 45.9 per cent and positive jaws of 3 per cent

· Credit quality remains strong with a net asset quality ratio of 26 basis points

· Additional PPI charge of £550 million in the second quarter driven by significant increase in information request volumes in the second quarter, ahead of the August deadline

· Tangible net assets per share of 53.0 pence

· Interim ordinary dividend of 1.12 pence per share, up 5 per cent, in line with our progressive and sustainable policy

Balance sheet strength maintained with lower capital requirement

· Balance sheet remains strong with targeted lending and deposit growth in the quarter including the open mortgage book, SME, UK Motor Finance and current accounts

· CET1 capital build of 70 basis points after the impact of PPI (33 basis points) and IFRS 16 (11 basis points); pro forma CET1 ratio of 14.6 per cent, pre dividend

· As previously reported, given the lower Systemic Risk Buffer and Pillar 2A requirement, the Board’s view of the level of capital required by the Group to grow the business, meet regulatory requirements and cover uncertainties has reduced from around 13 per cent to around 12.5 per cent, plus a management buffer of around 1 per cent

Outlook

· The Group’s strategy remains the right one in the current environment and the Group continues to expect to deliver sustainable, superior performance for its customers and shareholders

· The resilience of the Group’s business model is reflected in its 2019 guidance:

− Net interest margin of c.2.90 per cent

− Operating costs to be less than £8 billion and cost:income ratio expected to fall

− Net asset quality ratio of less than 30 basis points

− Given below the line charges, including PPI, in 2019 the Group now expects capital build to be at the lower end of the Group’s ongoing 170 to 200 basis points range, and for return on tangible equity to be around 12 per cent

· Beyond 2019, longer term targets remain unchanged although continued economic uncertainty could impact outlook

GROUP CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S STATEMENT

In the first six months of 2019 we have continued to deliver for our customers whilst making strong strategic progress, increasing investment in the business and helping Britain prosper. At the same time we have delivered a good financial performance with market leading efficiency and returns which has enabled the Board to announce an increased interim dividend.

Given our clear UK focus, our performance is inextricably linked with the health of the UK economy. The economy has remained resilient, however the continued economic uncertainty is having an impact on business confidence and leading to some softening in international economic indicators. Companies’ investment and employment intentions have both declined in the second quarter of 2019 while global growth has softened and interest rate expectations have declined. Despite this the consumer sector remains robust with increased levels of employment and rising real wages, supporting consumption and GDP growth.

In recent years we have deliberately taken a prudent approach to growth and risk and have continued to invest in the business while maintaining a relentless focus on costs. The success of this approach is demonstrated by our financial performance in the first half of the year, which shows the resilience of our business model and the ability to generate market leading returns in an uncertain environment. This further reinforces my confidence that our strategy remains the right one in the current environment and that our significant cost advantage and unique business model mean the Group is well placed to continue to support its customers, help Britain prosper and deliver sustainable, superior returns to our shareholders.

Financial performance

In the first six months we have delivered a robust underlying profit of £4.2 billion, in line with prior year, with a statutory profit after tax of £2.2 billion, despite an additional PPI charge of £650 million. Net interest margin remained resilient at 2.90 per cent, cost:income ratio further improved to 45.9 per cent, while business as usual costs reduced 5 per cent due to our relentless focus on efficiency, enabling increased strategic investment in the business. Statutory return on tangible equity was strong at 11.5 per cent despite higher below the line charges including PPI. Credit quality also remains strong and our loan portfolios continue to be well positioned, reflecting the Group’s prudent through the cycle approach to credit risk. The CET1 capital build totalled 70 basis points with the Group’s pro forma CET1 ratio increasing to 14.6 per cent, pre dividend.

As announced in May, the Board’s view of the level of CET1 capital targeted is around 12.5 per cent, plus a management buffer of around 1 per cent, following the notification by the regulator of the Systemic Risk Buffer and the reduction in the Group’s Pillar 2A in July 2018.

The strong capital build has enabled the Board to announce an increased interim ordinary dividend of 1.12 pence per share, up 5 per cent, in line with the Group’s progressive and sustainable ordinary dividend policy. Good progress has also been made on the share buyback that was announced with our full year results at the time of issuing results we have bought back approximately 1.4 billion shares, with around 50 per cent of the up to £1.75 billion programme now completed.

As also announced in May, the Group will commence paying quarterly dividends in 2020 which will provide a more regular flow of dividend income to shareholders.

Strategic progress

We are now half way through the third stage of our ambitious strategy launched in February 2018. In the last eighteen months we have made significant progress in transforming the Group for success in a digital world and, in line with our commitment to invest more than £3 billion over the plan period, have invested £1.5 billion to date to build new sources of competitive advantage across our four strategic pillars.

Leading customer experience

We continue to believe that our customers’ evolving needs are best served through a multi-brand, multi-channel strategy and are therefore committed to maintaining the UK’s largest digital bank and branch network. In line with this commitment, we have continued to improve our digital proposition, with our digitally active customer base increasing to 15.9 million, of which 9.8 million are mobile app customers. While 75 per cent of products are now initiated via digital channels, branches remain a vital channel for meeting our customers’ more complex needs. Since the start of 2018, we have improved our relationship mortgage new business market share by 3 percentage points and, through Schroders Personal Wealth we will extend wealth capabilities to our branch network. Our overall success in improving the customer experience is reflected in our net promoter scores, which increased to 65 for all channels and 67 for digital channels, both up c.5 per cent since year end 2018.

Digitising the Group

We have continued to increase our investment in technology. This now represents 19 per cent of operating costs, up from 16 per cent in 2018, with over 70 per cent of this amount relating to enhancing existing capabilities and creating new ones. This investment is enabling us to improve the experience of our customers and colleagues, while also driving operational efficiencies that will support increased investment going forward. Consistent with this focus, we have made strong progress in transforming customer and colleague end-to-end processes, with activity to date having now covered c.40 per cent of our cost base, up from 12 per cent in the previous strategic plan period.

Maximising the Group’s capabilities

We have continued to build on our Open Banking proposition, which is now available to all of our digital customers, and we were the first in the market to extend this functionality to both savings products and credit cards. In addition, our unique Single Customer View capability, which enables customers to view all of the pension and insurance products that they hold with the Group alongside their banking products, continues to go from strength to strength and is now available to more than four million customers, up by more than one million since the start of the year. We also established Schroders Personal Wealth in June and will launch this to the market in the second half of the year, with the ambition of becoming a top three financial planning business within five years.

Transforming ways of working

In 2019 we have increased our investment in our colleagues, with a focus on ensuring that we are able to continue to attract, develop and retain the talent and capabilities we will need in the future. As part of this, we have increased the ‘skills of the future’ training delivered to our colleagues to a cumulative 2.1 million hours since 2018, putting us well on track to meet our target of 4.4 million hours by the end of the plan period. We have also hired over 900 colleagues across critical areas such as engineering, data science and cyber security, in line with our plan to treble our strategic hiring compared to 2018. Consistent with our focus on improving our overall operating efficiency, building internal capabilities through these initiatives has also enabled us to reduce the use of external resource by 20 per cent since the end of 2017.

Helping Britain Prosper Plan

As part of our purpose of helping Britain prosper, we believe we have a responsibility to help address some of the societal, economic and environmental challenges that the UK faces. During the first half of the year, we contributed £10 billion of gross new lending to businesses, and we are on course to meet our commitment to lend up to £18 billion to UK businesses in 2019 as part of our continued support for the UK economy. Similarly, we are on track to meet our target of £6 billion of additional net lending to start-up, SME and Mid Market clients over the three years to the end of 2020.

We have now trained around 4,000 people in digital life skills through our Lloyds Bank Academy and have around 23,000 colleagues volunteering as Digital Champions in their local communities as part of our efforts to help close the digital skills gap in the UK. I am also very proud of the Stonewall Top Financial Services Employer and Times Top 50 Employer for Women awards, which we received this year in recognition of our role in championing inclusion and diversity.

To help the UK transition into a sustainable, low carbon economy, which we believe is key to the UK’s prosperity, we are actively incentivising sustainable lending with our clients. In recognition of the Green Lending Initiatives we have put in place so far, we recently won the Real Estate Capital Sustainable Finance Provider of the year award. We also have a portfolio of new propositions under development and are currently piloting a digital app which aims to help our Commercial Banking customers understand and improve the energy efficiency of their buildings.

Outlook

Our results for the first half of the year continue to demonstrate the resilience of our business model and that our strategy remains the right one in the current environment. We expect the Group to continue to deliver sustainable, superior performance for our customers and shareholders, and the resilience of the business model is reflected in our guidance for 2019:

· Net interest margin of c.2.90 per cent

· Operating costs of less than £8 billion and cost:income ratio expected to fall

· Net asset quality ratio of less than 30 basis points

· Given the below the line charges, including PPI, in 2019 we now expect capital build to be at the lower end of our ongoing 170 to 200 basis points range, and for return on tangible equity to be around 12 per cent

Beyond 2019, our longer term targets remain unchanged although continued economic uncertainty could impact outlook.

Summary

We will maintain our prudent approach to growth and risk whilst retaining our relentless focus on costs and continuing to invest and transform the business for success in a digital world. We are well placed to continue to support our customers, help Britain prosper, and deliver sustainable, superior returns for shareholders.