Lloyds Banking Group was founded in the midst of the recession that resulted from the credit crunch in January 2009. With more than 30 million customers, it has the largest private shareholder base in the UK, and claims to provide more current accounts, savings, personal loans, credit cards and mortgages than any other of the UK banks. In England and Wales, Lloyds TSB and Halifax are its main brands - in Scotland, it is the Bank of Scotland.
Established as the private bank of Taylors & Lloyds in June 1765, Lloyds Bank worked for a century from one office in Birmingham. By 1865, the company converted to joint-stock status which allowed it to grow rapidly and indulge in takeovers, which fed its growth further. It was in 1884 that the bank inherited the black horse symbol by which it is known, after taking over the bank of Barnetts, Hoares, Hanbury & Lloyd.
The savings movement
In 1810, the savings movement was opened by a reverend in Ruthwell. In the 1970s, several savings banks united into regional companies offering bank services. Then, flotation on the stock exchange in 1986 led to the creation of TSB Group which merged with Lloyds Bank in 1995 to form Lloyds TSB. This group took over Scottish Widows in 2000.
The 2008 recession
At the height of the 2008 recession in January 2009, Lloyds TSB Group boldly took over the Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS), a banking and insurance company. It renamed itself Lloyds Banking Group - the takeover made it the largest retail bank in the UK.
The current situation
Lloyds Banking Group is run by a board that consists of executive and
non-executive directors. To become a director, an appointment must be considered by the board before the candidate stands for election by shareholders at the first Annual General Meeting following their appointment. At meetings held at least nine times annually, directors are expected to review corporate strategy within a framework of assessing and managing risk.
The role of shareholders
The board, in an effort to understand the views of its primary shareholders, relies on reports from the group finance director and the director of investor relations. Several other meetings are held at various times to further analyse where shareholders stand on various issues, and directors are invited to attend investment analysts' and stockbrokers' briefings on the financial results. Lloyds Banking Group says that shareholders are encouraged to attend and participate in the AGM.