Lloyds Banking Group returns to private ownership

Lloyds Banking Group has been fully returned to private hands nearly nine years after the Government bailed it out during the financial crisis, it has been confirmed.

The high street bank said last week the Government's stake had been reduced to 0.25% and the final tranche of 638.4 million Lloyds shares have now been sold.

Lloyds said the taxpayer had made a £894 million profit on the original £20.3 billion of cash pumped in as part of its rescue.

Antonio Horta-Osorio, chief executive of Lloyds, said: "Six years ago we inherited a business that was in a very fragile financial condition.

"Thanks to the hard work of everyone at Lloyds, we've turned the group around.

"But the job is not done. We're going to continue to use our strong position to help Britain prosper."