Project Mars / Verde
19th July 2012
The Joint Trades Unions (JTU) welcome today’s announcement by the Boards of both the Co-operative Banking Group (CBG) and the Co-operative Group (tCG) that agreement has been given in principle to progress the purchase of over 600 Lloyds branches.
The JTU see this expansion as a very positive development for CBG and the wider finance industry, especially in the current economic and regulatory climate. These additional branches will give CBG a much greater high street presence, a larger share of the banking market and a true mutual alternative for customers of the big banks. We wish the project and the business every success.
We appreciate that staff may have concerns, but this is likely to be a very long process. The JTU are in constant dialogue with the business on your behalf, and look forward to many further meetings with senior management. As always, we will endeavour to act to protect the best interests of members.
Co-operative Banking Group strongly supports trade union membership.
If you are not already a member of your respective trades union, then we strongly encourage you to join.
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20th June 2012
NACO members will be aware that, as a result of the European Commission's decision to enforce Lloyds Banking Group to divest a significant number of branches, the Co-operative Bank has been in talks with Lloyds for some time. read more about Lloyds and the EC decision.
Recent Lloyds Statement
After months of speculation, Lloyds Banking Group issued a statement to the market this week regarding Verde (known within Co-operative Banking Group as 'Project Mars'):
“Lloyds Banking Group (‘The Group’) has made considerable progress with The Co-operative Group (Co-op) on the Verde transaction. The Group and Co-op now have an understanding on the commercial terms for the transaction. Final approval for this is subject to agreeing satisfactory documentation and the approval of respective boards, the FSA, HMT and the European Commission.
During this final phase of the discussions, and in order to proceed to ‘Heads of Agreement’, negotiations with the Co-op will proceed on an exclusive basis.
The Verde business has 632 branches across the UK with c.5m customers representing 6% of the UK branch network and, when combined with the Co-op business, c.7% of UK current accounts.”
NACO welcomes this announcement. If the 'understanding on commercial terms' leads to a successful conclusion, the Co-operative Banking Group will acquire a much greater share of the UK banking market with a significantly enhanced high-street presence of almost 1,000 branches.
Lloyds keeping IPO plans on the table...
Regardless of the outcome of a deal with the Co-operative Bank, Lloyds must create a working Retail Bank separated from the Lloyds Banking Group by 30th November 2012 to be open for business-as-usual trading on 2nd December 2013. As a result, Lloyds are still working on an Initial Public Offering (IPO) though this is seen to be the least favoured option.
Lloyds announced recently that an additional 1,400 staff responsible for Telephony, Banking Operations and Mortgage Processing will join the 5,000 branch staff set to transfer under Project Verde. With staff additions projected for the coming months, over 9,000 could move to the Co-operative Bank by the end of 2013 including:
- Cheltenham & Gloucester Branch Network
- Lloyds TSB Scotland Branch Network
- Selected Lloyds TSB England & Wales Branches
- Telephone Centre, Sunderland and Swansea
- Mortgage Operations, Barnwood
- Global Payments & Banking Operations, Sheldon
- Intelligent Finance, Livingston
NACO have been kept informed of all developments since this acquisition was first muted in late-2011. We have met with senior management of the Co-operative Bank numerous times and we will be involved in ongoing developments to ensure our members are kept informed and well represented.
If you would like to speak to a NACO official regarding this announcement, please contact the NACO National Office.