By Max Clarke

The part state owned Lloyds Banking group today announced a return to profits, owing in part to a 6% reduction in operating costs alongside a 7% growth in income, despite the moderate performance of the British economy.
Gross mortgage lending for the group totalled £30 billion, supporting the small business recovery.

“2010 was a good year for the Group, in which we made significant progress, delivering a strong operating performance, while strengthening the business for the future.” Commented J Eric Daniels, in the Chief Executive’s summary.

“We are pleased with the progress we have made in reducing the size of the Group’s balance sheet, with over half of our five year reduction plan achieved in the first two years. Although this has had an adverse effect on income, it has resulted in a material reduction in the Group’s risk profile, and a smaller balance sheet which brings associated funding benefits.

“It has been a tremendous honour and a privilege to lead our many talented and dedicated people over the last eight years, and I would like to thank my colleagues and the Board for their support over this time. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to create the new Group. The significant progress we have made in 2010 positions the Group well for the future to meet our objective of becoming the best bank for all our stakeholders, including our customers, shareholders and employees.

David Fleming, national officer at Britain’s largest union, Unite, has reacted to the news, offering the following statement:

“Another day, another taxpayer backed bank announces positive results with no acknowledgement of the price ordinary people are paying for their rescue. Instead of remorse or regret the greedy Lloyds bosses have sacked over 21,000 of their staff and rewarded their outgoing bosses £1.45m in bonuses.

“The Government must ensure that the appointment of the new boss marks a significant change in this 41% state owned business. There should be an acceptance that they are still not doing enough to support the economic recovery through lending to small businesses and acknowledging their social responsibilities.”