This story is going to run and run. So we’ll do our best to cover it regularly. Here is part of the statement put out by Lloyds TSB. Both Groups have focused on the attractive SME, commercial and mid-corporate segments. With the increasing sophistication of smaller and mid-sized companies’ financial services needs, this is also expected to be the fastest growing area of wholesale banking. The combined Group will benefit from better reach, closer segmentation and a broader range of products to grow Lloyds TSB’s business. A strong focus on relationships, allied to ‘through the cycle’ credit risk management, is expected to deliver accelerated and sustainable earnings growth from this business. That sounds pretty positive. (It had to be, I suppose.) You can find the full statement from Lloyds TSB here. The sound of fretting can already be heard north of the border. The first such piece is in The Scotsman. HBOS has been an active and aggressive backer of the more buccaneering Scots. Think Sir Tom Hunter. HBOS’ Peter Cummings, who rose to prominence with his backing of Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia deal, has been at the centre of the action. Here’s The Scotsman’s take. Cummings was also equally influential when he took a 50 per cent stake of Scotland’s largest hotels group, Macdonald Hotels, when its owner, hotelier Donald Macdonald, took it off the stock market in a bumper £600 million buyout in 2003. As of a few months ago, BoS Corporate had more than £4 billion invested in property ventures alone, with several of these including big stakes in some of Scotland’s most significant commercial and residential property companies including Miller Group, Kenmore, Kilmartin and Cala.Lloyds may well take a dimmer view. Here would be a conversation to earwig on: Sir Philip Green and Eric Daniels.In the circumstances, competition considerations had to be cast aside for this merger to happen. But we can expect the Forum of Private Business and all the other small business lobby groups to be on the warpath very soon. Just first thoughts. What do you reckon?
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