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British bank TSB relaunches on high street

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

British bank TSB relaunched on Monday, ending its 18-year absence from the high street to become the nation's eighth biggest lender, its parent group announced.

Part-nationalised Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) had decided earlier this year to offload the 200-year-old TSB via a flotation, in order to meets EU concerns over its vast state bailout.

That decision followed the collapse of a deal to sell the business, dubbed Project Verde, at a loss to The Co-operative Group in April.

"Lloyds Banking Group today confirms the creation of two strong banks -- TSB and Lloyds Bank -- which will increase choice and competition into the UK banking sector," the lender said in a statement on Monday.

"From today TSB will launch across 631 branches right across Great Britain, and will bring a credible, new competitor to the market."

The bank added that TSB was set for a stock market flotation next year.

TSB -- whose history dates back to 1810 -- is now Britain's eighth biggest bank in terms of store numbers, with 631 branches and 8,000 staff.

LBG remains 39-percent owned by the British government after it received a vast state bailout at the height of the 2008 global financial crisis.

"The creation of the two new brands follows a ruling by the European Commission in 2009 that said Lloyds Banking Group should transfer part of its business to a new owner," LBG added on Monday.

"The creation of TSB is the next step in meeting this obligation and the bank is now prepared for flotation in 2014."

The new bank has around 4.6 million customers and more than £20 billion ($31 billion, 24 billion euros) of loans and customer deposits.

"LBG is increasing choice and competition in the market by launching one bank and revitalising another," added LBG chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio.

He has also said that the move will create a "completely clean bank" untainted by recent scandals in Britain's banking sector.

LBG was created by a merger of Lloyds TSB and rival lender HBOS following the 2008 global financial crisis.

However, it suffered huge losses in 2008 and 2009 as bad debts rocketed in the wake of its takeover of HBOS, which was plagued by toxic or high-risk property investments.

Lloyds TSB was formed in 1995 via the merger of TSB Group and Lloyds Bank.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130909/british-bank-tsb-relaunches-high-street