Lloyds Banking Group posts 6% fall in profits to £2.1bn

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Lloyds Banking Group cheered a "robust" performance in the first three months of the year as it posted a 6% dip in underlying profits to £2.1 billion.

It said that, excluding the TSB business, which it sold last year, profits were "stable" on a year earlier.

The lender has escaped the hefty profits hit suffered by its investment banking rivals, with Barclays posting a 25% fall in first-quarter profits on Wednesday.

On a bottom-line basis, pre-tax profits dropped 46% to £654 million, but this includes a £790 million charge from buying back high-interest bonds - also called "enhanced capital notes" or ECNs - from investors.

Group chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio said the results show the group's ability to "actively respond to the challenging operating environment".

Total loans and advances to customers were £457 billion at the end of March 2016, an increase of £2 billion since the final quarter of 2015.

Customer deposits were £1 billion higher since 2015 at £419 billion.

The group said it took no further charges for the payment protection insurance (PPI) mis-selling scandal.

It saw statutory pre-tax profits fall 7% to £1.64 billion in 2015 after taking a £2.1 billion PPI hit.

But the group said in its latest update that PPI claims had been "broadly" in line with its expectations so far in 2016, at around 8,500 a week.