RPT-UK watchdog backs plans for Lloyds, RBS branch sales

Wed Sep 11, 2013 1:17pm EDT

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LONDON, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Britain's competition regulator has approved planned branch sales by Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland to increase choice for consumers in a step towards the government selling its shares in the banks.

However, the Office of Fair Trading said on Wednesday Lloyds must strengthen the balance sheet of its TSB business, which comprises 631 branches, to enable it to grow its market share more rapidly.

Lloyds said in response that it would make changes to enhance TSB's profitability by over 200 million pounds ($316.27 million) in aggregate in its first four years.

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