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Britain approves reforms to scandal-hit banking sector

Britain's banking reform bill cleared its final legislative hurdle late on Monday, paving the way for a raft of new regulations including the "ring fencing" of banks' retail and investment divisions. A vote in the House of Lords, Britain's upper chamber, rubber-stamped the government's plans for reforming the embattled sector, ending a challenge from the opposition Labour party, which wanted a licensing system on banking standards to be included. "I am delighted that the Banking Reform Bill has been passed," said Sajid Javid, Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

Lloyds bank fined £28m over sales failings

British regulators have fined state-rescued Lloyds Banking Group a record £28 million after finding staff were at risk of selling unsuitable products amid the lure of bonuses, they announced on Wednesday. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said the fine, equivalent to $46 million or 33.5 million euros, was the biggest ever imposed by the newly created regulator, or by its predecessor, for "retail conduct failings".

British bank TSB relaunches on high street

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 bank branch sale to Co-op collapses

By Matt Scuffham and Clare Hutchison (Reuters) - The planned sale by state-backed Lloyds of hundreds of UK bank branches to the Co-op fell through on Wednesday, setting back government plans to boost competition in the industry. The Co-op said it pulled out of the deal, worth up to 750 million pounds, due to toughening regulations and the worsening outlook for UK economic growth.

Lloyds pays 25 staff more than 1 million pounds each

By Matt Scuffham LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's part-nationalised Lloyds Banking Group paid 25 staff more than 1 million pounds each in 2012, a year in which it set aside billions of pounds to compensate customers mis-sold loan insurance. The bank, which is 39 percent owned by the UK taxpayer, said on Monday it paid bonuses worth a total of 365 million pounds in 2012, down 3 percent on the previous year and the lowest of the big four British lenders.

UPDATE 4-Barclays ducks Qatar questions, takes $1.6 bn mis-selling hit

* Makes 1 bln stg provision for PPI, interest rate swaps * Signals rival UK banks need to set aside more cash * Says cannot comment on Qatar fundraising investigation * "We are shredding" some behaviours of the past -CEO By Steve Slater and Matt Scuffham

UPDATE 2-Barclays finance director Lucas, top counsel to retire

* Barclays CFO Lucas, General Counsel Harding to retire * Will only leave when replacements found, likely to be some time * Lucas under investigation for 2008 Qatar fundraising * Lucas says appropriate time "to pass the mantle on" By Steve Slater and Paul Sandle

Lloyds CEO says shared bank IT would stifle competition

LONDON, Jan 31 (Reuters) - The boss of Britain's biggest retail bank told lawmakers a proposal to stimulate competition by creating an industry-shared IT platform would be too difficult to implement and not achieve its objective. The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards is considering recommending the industry adopts a uniform IT system that would place all banks on the same network.

UPDATE 1-Britain's Lloyds Banking Group cuts 940 jobs

* Union says job cuts a "complete disgrace" * Lloyds says will attempt to redeploy staff LONDON, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Lloyds Banking Group said on Wednesday it was axing 940 jobs, bringing the total amount cut since its ill-fated takeover of HBOS in 2009 to more than 31,000. Lloyds said the jobs would be lost in its operations, insurance, retail, wealth, international and commercial divisions and were part of the reductions previously announced in its strategic review.

UK bank lobby group backs body to monitor standards

LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Britain should create a new independent body to monitor standards at its banks and impose a new code of conduct for the industry, the British Bankers Association (BBA) said. In its submission to an inquiry by lawmakers into standards within the industry, the lobby group advocated the creation of a Banking Standards Review Council (BSRC) to monitor and uphold ethical and professional standards.
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