UK banks poised to reveal record profits

20th February 2006
By Stephen McNamara

The UK's major high street lenders are just days away from reporting record profits thanks to strong corporate, overseas and investment business.

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Over the next few weeks all of the UK's biggest retail banks are expected to report multi-billion pound profits, confirming that it has never been better to be a high street lender.

Already, the northeastern player Northern Rock has reported a 14% increase in pre-tax profits to GBP504.6 million. Barclays is believed to be on the brink of revealing profits over GBP5 billion. Meanwhile, in the coming days Lloyds TSB is predicted to deliver profits around GBP3 billion, while internationally established heavyweight HSBC is expected to achieved massive profits in the region of GBP11 billion.

However, while the extremely healthy earnings are likely to inspire more calls of 'rip-off Britain' from consumer groups, there is a consensus in the industry that the record profits are not exploiting UK retail customers.

Corporate business and overseas expansion are seen by many observers as the real drivers of the expected GBP35 billion in combined profits. However, with UK authorities currently raising questions about the level of fees for ATM withdrawals, overdrafts and credit cards, accusations of profiteering at the expense of UK retail customers are nevertheless likely to materialize.

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