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HBOS branches out

05 August 2005
HBOS is hoping to win more customers in the insurance, banking and credit card sectors, in order to compensate for a slowing housing market and a fall in borrowing.

The company's chief executive, James Crosby, has detailed plans to expand its reach abroad in the insurance sector, to hopefully soften the blow of any further problems.

The bank has announced that it has agreed to buy MLP AG's life insurance arm for €270 million, a move in part fuelled by the growing number of people saving for retirement in Germany.

Higher interest rates mean consumers are currently less likely to take out loans at the moment, though a cut in rates is on the cards.

HSBC, a major competitor of HBOS, also noted that customers are finding it harder to pay off debts, which was confirmed by HBOS when its figures revealed a 15 per cent increase in problem loans in the first half of the year.

However, Mr Crosby is optimistic about the UK economy's outlook, believing it to be "encouraging", according to Bloomberg.

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