Lloyds Banking Group plc – Annual report – 31 December 2017
Note 37: Other provisions
Critical accounting estimates and judgements
At 31 December 2017, the Group carried provisions of £4,070 million (2016: £3,597 million) against the cost of making redress payments to customers and the related administration costs in connection with historical regulatory breaches, principally the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (2017: £2,778 million; 2016: £2,258 million).
Determining the amount of the provisions, which represent management’s best estimate of the cost of settling these issues, requires the exercise of significant judgement. It will often be necessary to form a view on matters which are inherently uncertain, such as the scope of reviews required by regulators, the number of future complaints, the extent to which they will be upheld, the average cost of redress and the impact of legal decisions that may be relevant to claims received. Consequently the continued appropriateness of the underlying assumptions is reviewed on a regular basis against actual experience and other relevant evidence and adjustments made to the provisions where appropriate.
More detail on the nature of the assumptions that have been made and key sensitivities is set out below.
Provisions for commitments
Provisions are held in cases where the Group is irrevocably committed to advance additional funds, but where there is doubt as to the customer’s ability to meet its repayment obligations.
Payment protection insurance (excluding MBNA)
The Group increased the provision for PPI costs by a further £1,650 million in 2017, of which £600 million was in the fourth quarter, bringing the total amount provided to £18,675 million. The remaining provision is consistent with an average of 11,000 complaints per week (previously 9,000) through to the industry deadline of August 2019, in line with the average experience over the last nine months.
The higher volume of complaints received has been driven by increased claims management company (CMC) marketing activity and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) advertising campaign.
At 31 December 2017, a provision of £2,438 million remained unutilised relating to complaints and associated administration costs. Total cash payments were £1,470 million during the year to 31 December 2017.
The Group estimates that it has sold approximately 16 million PPI policies since 2000. These include policies that were not mis-sold and those that have been successfully claimed upon. Since the commencement of the PPI redress programme in 2011 the Group estimates that it has contacted, settled or provided for approximately 53 per cent of the policies sold since 2000.
The total amount provided for PPI represents the Group’s best estimate of the likely future cost. However a number of risks and uncertainties remain in particular with respect to future volumes. The cost could differ from the Group’s estimates and the assumptions underpinning them, and could result in a further provision being required. There is significant uncertainty around the impact of the regulatory changes, FCA media campaign and Claims Management Company and customer activity.
For every additional 1,000 reactive complaints per week above 11,000 on average through to the industry deadline of August 2019, the Group would expect an additional charge of £200 million.
Payment protection insurance (MBNA)
With regard to MBNA, as announced in December 2016, the Group’s exposure is capped at £240 million already provided for, through an indemnity received from Bank of America.
Other provisions for legal actions and regulatory matters
In the course of its business, the Group is engaged in discussions with the PRA, FCA and other UK and overseas regulators and other governmental authorities on a range of matters. The Group also receives complaints in connection with its past conduct and claims brought by or on behalf of current and former employees, customers, investors and other third parties and is subject to legal proceedings and other legal actions. Where significant, provisions are held against the costs expected to be incurred in relation to these matters and matters arising from related internal reviews. During the year ended 31 December 2017 the Group charged a further £865 million in respect of legal actions and other regulatory matters, the unutilised balance at 31 December 2017 was £1,292 million (31 December 2016: £1,339 million). The most significant items are as follows.
Arrears handling related activities
The Group has provided an additional £245 million (bringing the total provided to date to £642 million), for the costs of identifying and rectifying certain arrears management fees and activities. Following a review of the Group’s arrears handling activities, the Group has put in place a number of actions to improve further its handling of customers in these areas and has made good progress in reimbursing mortgage arrears fees to the 590,000 impacted customers.
Packaged bank accounts
In 2017 the Group provided an additional £245 million in respect of complaints relating to alleged mis-selling of packaged bank accounts raising the total amount provided to £750 million. A number of risks and uncertainties remain in particular with respect to future volumes.
Customer claims in relation to insurance branch business in Germany
The Group continues to receive claims in Germany from customers relating to policies issued by Clerical Medical Investment Group Limited (subsequently renamed Scottish Widows Limited). The German industry-wide issue regarding notification of contractual ‘cooling off’ periods continued to lead to an increasing number of claims in 2016 and 2017. Up to 31 December 2016 the Group had provided a total of £639 million and no further amounts have been provided to 31 December 2017. The validity of the claims facing the Group depends upon the facts and circumstances in respect of each claim. As a result the ultimate financial effect, which could be significantly different from the current provision, will be known only once all relevant claims have been resolved.
HBOS Reading – customer review
The Group is undertaking a review into a number of customer cases from the former HBOS Impaired Assets Office based in Reading. This review follows the conclusion of a criminal trial in which a number of individuals, including two former HBOS employees, were convicted of conspiracy to corrupt, fraudulent trading and associated money laundering offences which occurred prior to the acquisition of HBOS by the Group in 2009. The Group has provided £100 million in the year to 31 December 2017 and is in the process of paying compensation to the victims of the fraud for economic losses as well as ex-gratia payments and awards for distress and inconvenience. The review is ongoing and at 12 February 2018, the Group had made offers to 57 customers, which represents more than 80 per cent of the customers in review.
Vacant leasehold property
Vacant leasehold property provisions are made by reference to a prudent estimate of expected sub-let income, compared to the head rent, and the possibility of disposing of the Group’s interest in the lease, taking into account conditions in the property market. These provisions are reassessed on a biannual basis and will normally run off over the period of under-recovery of the leases concerned, currently averaging 5 years; where a property is disposed of earlier than anticipated, any remaining balance in the provision relating to that property is released.
Following the sale of TSB Banking Group plc in 2015, the Group raised a provision of £665 million in relation to the Transitional Service Agreement entered into between Lloyds Bank plc and TSB and the contribution to be provided to TSB in moving to alternative IT provision; £622 million of this provision remained unutilised at 31 December 2017.
Provisions are made for staff and other costs related to Group restructuring initiatives at the point at which the Group becomes irrevocably committed to the expenditure. At 31 December 2017 provisions of £104 million (31 December 2016: £239 million) were held.
Other provisions also includes those arising in the normal course of business, whether from certain customer rectifications or provisions for dilapidation and refurbishment of properties. Provisions also include a matter arising out of the insolvency of a third party insurer, which remains exposed to asbestos and pollution claims in the US. The ultimate cost and timing of payments are uncertain. The provision held of £32 million at 31 December 2017 represents management’s current best estimate of the cost after having regard to actuarial estimates of future losses.
Note 47: Contingent liabilities and commitments (extract)
With respect to multi-lateral interchange fees (MIFs), the Group is not directly involved in the ongoing investigations and litigation (as described below) which involve card schemes such as Visa and MasterCard. However, the Group is a member of Visa and MasterCard and other card schemes.
- The European Commission continues to pursue competition investigations against MasterCard and Visa probing, amongst other things, MIFs paid in respect of cards issued outside the EEA.
- Litigation brought by retailers continues in the English Courts against both Visa and MasterCard.
- Any ultimate impact on the Group of the above investigations and litigation against Visa and MasterCard remains uncertain at this time.
Visa Inc completed its acquisition of Visa Europe on 21 June 2016. As part of this transaction, the Group and certain other UK banks also entered into a Loss Sharing Agreement (LSA) with Visa Inc, which clarifies the allocation of liabilities between the parties should the litigation referred to above result in Visa Inc being liable for damages payable by Visa Europe. The maximum amount of liability to which the Group may be subject under the LSA is capped at the cash consideration which was received by the Group at completion. Visa Inc may also have recourse to a general indemnity, previously in place under Visa Europe’s Operating Regulations, for damages claims concerning inter or intra-regional MIF setting activities.
LIBOR and other trading rates
In July 2014, the Group announced that it had reached settlements totalling £217 million (at 30 June 2014 exchange rates) to resolve with UK and US federal authorities legacy issues regarding the manipulation several years ago of Group companies’ submissions to the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and Sterling Repo Rate. The Group continues to cooperate with various other government and regulatory authorities, including the Serious Fraud Office, the Swiss Competition Commission, and a number of US State Attorneys General, in conjunction with their investigations into submissions made by panel members to the bodies that set LIBOR and various other interbank offered rates.
Certain Group companies, together with other panel banks, have also been named as defendants in private lawsuits, including purported class action suits, in the US in connection with their roles as panel banks contributing to the setting of US Dollar, Japanese Yen and Sterling LIBOR and the Australian BBSW Reference Rate. Certain of the plaintiffs’ claims, including those in connection with USD and JPY LIBOR, have been dismissed by the US Federal Court for Southern District of New York, and decisions are awaited on the Group’s motions to dismiss the Sterling LIBOR and BBSW claims. The decisions leading to the Group’s dismissal from the USD LIBOR claims are subject to two appeals; the first took place on 25 September 2017 and a decision is expected in the first quarter of 2018, and the second is expected to take place in the first half of 2018. The decisions leading to the Group’s dismissal from the JPY LIBOR claims are not presently subject to appeal.
Certain Group companies are also named as defendants in: (i) UK based claims; and (ii) in a Dutch class action, each raising LIBOR manipulation allegations. A number of the claims against the Group in relation to the alleged mis-sale of Interest Rate Hedging Products also include allegations of LIBOR manipulation.
It is currently not possible to predict the scope and ultimate outcome on the Group of the various outstanding regulatory investigations not encompassed by the settlements, any private lawsuits or any related challenges to the interpretation or validity of any of the Group’s contractual arrangements, including their timing and scale.
UK shareholder litigation
In August 2014, the Group and a number of former directors were named as defendants in a claim by a number of claimants who held shares in Lloyds TSB Group plc (LTSB) prior to the acquisition of HBOS plc, alleging breaches of duties in relation to information provided to shareholders in connection with the acquisition and the recapitalisation of LTSB. The defendants refute all claims made. A trial commenced in the English High Court on 18 October 2017 and is scheduled to conclude in the first quarter of 2018 with judgment to follow. It is currently not possible to determine the ultimate impact on the Group (if any).
Financial Services Compensation Scheme
Following the default of a number of deposit takers in 2008, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) borrowed funds from HM Treasury to meet the compensation costs for customers of those firms. In June 2017, the FSCS announced that following the sale of certain Bradford & Bingley mortgage assets, the principal balance outstanding on the HM Treasury loan was £4,678 million (31 December 2016: £15,655 million). Although it is anticipated that the substantial majority of this loan will be repaid from funds the FSCS receives from asset sales, surplus cash flow or other recoveries in relation to the assets of the firms that defaulted, any shortfall will be funded by deposit-taking participants, including the Group, of the FSCS. The amount of future levies payable by the Group depends on a number of factors, principally, the amounts recovered by the FSCS from asset sales.
The Group has an open matter in relation to a claim for group relief of losses incurred in its former Irish banking subsidiary, which ceased trading on 31 December 2010. In 2013 HMRC informed the Group that their interpretation of the UK rules which allow the offset of such losses denies the claim. If HMRC’s position is found to be correct management estimate that this would result in an increase in current tax liabilities of approximately £650 million (including interest) and a reduction in the Group’s deferred tax asset of approximately £350 million. The Group does not agree with HMRC’s position and, having taken appropriate advice, does not consider that this is a case where additional tax will ultimately fall due. There are a number of other open matters on which the Group is in discussion with HMRC (including the tax treatment of certain costs arising from the divestment of TSB Banking Group plc), none of which is expected to have a material impact on the financial position of the Group.
Residential mortgage repossessions
In August 2014, the Northern Ireland High Court handed down judgment in favour of the borrowers in relation to three residential mortgage test cases concerning certain aspects of the Group’s practice with respect to the recalculation of contractual monthly instalments of customers in arrears. The FCA is actively engaged with the industry in relation to these considerations and has published Guidance on the treatment of customers with mortgage payment shortfalls. The Guidance covers remediation for mortgage customers who may have been affected by the way firms calculate these customers’ monthly mortgage instalments. The Group is now determining its detailed approach to implementation of the Guidance and will contact affected customers during 2018.
Mortgage arrears handling activities
On 26 May 2016, the Group was informed that an enforcement team at the FCA had commenced an investigation in connection with the Group’s mortgage arrears handling activities. This investigation is ongoing and it is currently not possible to make a reliable assessment of the liability, if any, that may result from the investigation.
Other legal actions and regulatory matters
In addition, during the ordinary course of business the Group is subject to other complaints and threatened or actual legal proceedings (including class or group action claims) brought by or on behalf of current or former employees, customers, investors or other third parties, as well as legal and regulatory reviews, challenges, investigations and enforcement actions, both in the UK and overseas. All such material matters are periodically reassessed, with the assistance of external professional advisers where appropriate, to determine the likelihood of the Group incurring a liability. In those instances where it is concluded that it is more likely than not that a payment will be made, a provision is established to management’s best estimate of the amount required at the relevant balance sheet date. In some cases it will not be possible to form a view, for example because the facts are unclear or because further time is needed properly to assess the merits of the case, and no provisions are held in relation to such matters. In these circumstances, specific disclosure in relation to a contingent liability will be made where material. However the Group does not currently expect the final outcome of any such case to have a material adverse effect on its financial position, operations or cash flows.
The contingent liabilities of the Group arise in the normal course of its banking business and it is not practicable to quantify their future financial effect.