Lloyds Picks New Chief Amid Bank IT Scrutiny
Britain's biggest high street lender will this week appoint a new IT chief as the banking sector seeks to overhaul creaking computer systems following a series of reputation-damaging failures.
Sky News understands that Lloyds Banking Group will announce the recruitment of Morteza Mahjour, the former chief information officer of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), within days.
Mr Mahjour will be the latest Canadian banker to take a leading role in the UK banking system following last year's arrival of Mark Carney as the Governor of the Bank of England.
Reporting to David Oldfield, Lloyds' operations director, Mr Mahjour will take the same title that he had at RBC.
He will arrive at Lloyds, which is 25%-owned by UK taxpayers, at an important time, with major lenders attempting to rectify decades of under-investment in IT systems even as consumers demand access to increasingly sophisticated banking services.
A report by the British Bankers' Association to be published on Tuesday is expected to show that UK banking apps are now being used more than 2.5m times every day.
Banks' investment in systems infrastructure has struggled to keep pace with this explosion in demand, however.
All of the major high street lenders have faced embarrassing breakdowns in technology in recent years, with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) experiencing arguably the most damaging just over two years ago.
Millions of customers were left without access to their money for several days, prompting RBS to pledge a huge investment in upgrading IT systems under its new chief executive.
Lloyds was hit by a similar, although less severe, glitch in March which shut down its network of cash machines for several hours.
The Financial Conduct Authority subsequently launched a probe into the resilience of banks' IT systems, with its inquiry the level of engagement of lenders' boards of directors on the issue.
Mr Mahjour spent nearly 25 years at RBC, which like its Canadian peers sailed unscathed through the financial crisis.
The role he is taking at Lloyds has been occupied on an interim basis in recent times, but Antonio Horta-Osorio, the bank's boss, is understood to believe that the post is crucial as he prepares to expand the range of digital services available to its customer base.
Lloyds declined to comment on Monday.