Lloyds Commits To Credit Unions Amid Pay Row
The taxpayer-backed Lloyds Banking Group will make a series of pledges on Wednesday aimed at combating financial exclusion, even as the industry runs headlong into another pay row.
Sky News understands that Lloyds will announce as part of its annual report that it will contribute an additional £1m annually to supporting credit unions, an increasingly popular form of alternative finance.
The commitment to credit unions, which the Government hopes will reduce the reliance on payday lenders of millions of Britons, will be one of dozens made by Lloyds under the slogan 'Helping Britain Prosper', launched by the bank's chief executive last month.
Sources said that Antonio Horta-Osorio would also promise to provide at least one in four so-called basic bank accounts, in line with its share of the broader current account market.
Other commitments would include employing a specific number of apprentices as Lloyds positions itself for a full return to private sector ownership later this year, they added.
Last month, the bank, which is 33%-owned by taxpayers, said it would employ women in 40% of its top 5,000 jobs within six years, while increasing net lending to small businesses and a host of other stakeholder-friendly measures.
Although the scale of some of the commitments is modest in the context of Lloyds' size, the bank hopes that they will convince politicians and the public that it is serious about changing its image.
The publication of Lloyds' annual report will include its remuneration report, which will show that the number of employees paid more than £1m in 2013 rose from 25 staff the year before.
The most toxic publicity, however, is likely to be reserved for Barclays, which also plans to release its annual report on Wednesday.
Barclays will say that it also increased substantially the number of millionaires on its payroll in 2013, as well as setting out the details of substantial pay hikes for Antony Jenkins, chief executive, and other senior risk-takers.
Lloyds and Barclays declined to comment.
:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.