HBOS Lloyds TSB rival plan 'smacks of egos'

12 November 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
Ex-bank chiefs Sir Peter Burt and Sir George Mathewson have come under further fire following their 'arrogant' bid to bring an end to the Lloyds TSB, HBOS merger.

The UK's largest union, Unite has expressed its fears over the pair's motives and the potential consequences of their actions.

The two wrote to HBOS chairman, Dennis Stevenson last week calling for an end to the merger which could see HBOS through the financial crisis and proposed that they should takeover as top dogs at the banking group.

Mr Stevenson has since replied, dismissing their plans, and Unite general secretary Derek Simpson said yesterday: "Unite has serious doubts about the plans by Sir Peter Burt and Sir George Mathewson and their motives.

"They have failed to come up with any concrete proposals or any money, and it is irresponsible of them to threaten the proposed merger between HBOS and Lloyds TSB. We have serious concerns that the extreme arrogance of these two individuals will lead to the nightmare scenario in which HBOS collapses."

Even Gordon Brown, who waivered competition rules so that the bank merger could go ahead, has referred to Lloyds TSB as the only serious bidder, dismissing Sir Peter and Sir George's attempts.

However, it has been reported that they are not the only rivals in the pipe line as rumours are rife that the Bank of China is in early talks over the backing of a rival bid, despite Gordon Brown announcing that there is only one realistic option.

Unite's main concern over rival HBOS bids is for the staff, Mr Simpson added: "The future of these important financial institutions is now at stake. The proposal by these two individuals merely smacks of egos and special interest rather than the livelihoods of our members who work at both HBOS and Lloyds TSB."

HBOS is due to issue a circular to its shareholders in the next few days, ahead of the meeting in mid-December which could decide the banking group's fate.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd