The Co-operative has pledged to shake up the closed shop of high-street banking after clinching a cut-price deal to take control of 632 Lloyds Banking Group branches in a move that will triple its branch network and bring back the centuries-old TSB brand.
Some 4.8 million Lloyds customers will transfer to the Co-op along with up to 7,000 staff who currently work in the branches that are to be sold. The deal is expected to give the Co-op some muscle in high-street banking. It will create a 974-strong branch network with a 7% share of current accounts – propelling it to become a major competitor to the big four high-street lenders, Lloyds, Barclays, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland. The Co-op currently has just 2% of accounts.
The idea of a Cooperative Central Bank is explored in my article ‘Turn the Fed on its Head‘.