Co-op boss talks to ITV News about bank's 'bail-in'

The Co-operative Group has unveiled a deal with regulators to plug a £1.5 billion shortfall in the balance sheet of its banking arm. Photo: Press Association

I've just been speaking to the boss of The Co-operative Group, Euan Sutherland, about the group's rescue deal for its bank. He told me that around 7,000 investors who, on average put just under £1,000 into the bank, will have that money swapped for shares, potentially losing their savings. Sutherland points out that the most of them lent their cash to the Co-op more than a decade ago so will have made money in the long term, but in the short term it is a hit.

Having only taking over at the group around six weeks ago, he is tight lipped about whose fault it is that Co-op got the point where a rescue was required. The disastrous deal in 2009 when Co-op took on Britannia is clearly the source of the lion's share of the bank's losses. He declined to name and shame those individuals who pushed the deal and then pushed the bank on its flawed course to take on more than 600 branches of Lloyds. But Sutherland clearly committed to making the previous mistakes public, and to identify those responsible after the dust has settled on the rescue deal.

And he said 'you can never say never'. He seemed confident that the £1.5 billion deal will cover future losses. But he could not rule out potential job losses in other parts of the Co-op group like the insurance business which is to be sold off to find the cash to shore up the bank. The taxpayer is not being hit by this 'bail-in' but it will have a cost.

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