Lloyds returns to profit and unveils investment plans

Lloyds Banking Group has announced a statutory profit before tax of £415m for 2013, after having to declare a loss of £606m in 2012.

The profit included a charge for legacy payment protection insurance business of £3.05bn. At the beginning of this month, Lloyds announced it has set aside a further £1.8bn for PPI redress, taking its total provision to close to £10bn.

In its latest set of results, the banking giant also unveiled its 2014 plans.

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António Horta-Osório, group chief executive of Lloyds, said he expected the banking giant to increase lending to core customers in the year ahead.

For retail customers, he said mortgage market net lending in 2014 was expected to grow, supported by a target to lend around £10bn to about 80,000 first time buyers this year.

He said the bank would invest in product propositions and digital capabilities across brands and divisions, to deliver the products our customers need through the channels they prefer, while improving efficiency and customer service.

Mr Horta-Osório said Lloyds would achieve a low cost of equity and funds by further reducing costs and risk, “resulting in a unique competitive position”.

In the second half of 2014, Mr Horta-Osório said he expected to restart dividend payments, and to move to a dividend payout ratio of at least 50 per cent of sustainable earnings in the medium term.