International rescue: How Horta-Osório relaunched Lloyds
When António Horta-Osório took over Lloyds Banking Group in 2011, a once great institution was on its knees. The scale of the challenge he faced surprised even the new chief executive. Two-and-a-half years later, Lloyds is in the black, posting £2.1 billion in first-half profit, paving the way for the UK government to divest its 39% stake and begin discussions with regulators over resuming dividends. Euromoney tells the inside story of one of the great post-financial crisis turnarounds.
"When I got here, the bank was a time bomb," says António Horta-Osório, chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group. "We had £700 billion of banking assets and £300 billion of wholesale funding, half of which was short-term with an average tenor of two months." He pauses and reflects. "The bank was in danger of going bankrupt."
Aside from all the challenges of cleaning out a toxic loan book, Lloyds was faced with the height of the eurozone crisis, which meant there was a real risk of the short-term money markets closing.