>> Lloyds Banking Group posting its highest profit in a decade on Wednesday, signaling a full recovery from the financial crisis and boosting the government's ambition to return the company to full ownership within months. Shares in the group climbing Wednesday. But Reuters' UK banking correspondent, Lawrence White, says the resurgence shouldn't come as a surprise.
>> Following the financial crisis, the most important thing is to get back to what they're doing best, taking in deposits and lending those out to mortgages and small businesses. They've done that very effectively. They've made up for the mistakes they made during the financial crisis, for the most part, and are back to being what they do best.
Lloyd's was rescued with a 20.5 billion pound taxpayer bailout during the financial crisis. Since then the government has sold down its stake to less than 5%.>> It's not really a question of if, but when Lloyds will return to full, private ownership. The government is now not the top shareholder, it's holding less than 5% of the bank.
And so at the current rate of sale, we expect them to exit around May.>> Given most of Lloyds' business is within the UK, it's the most exposed of any British bank to a downturn in the economy. But the bank has confounded expectations that Brexit would squeeze profits.
Instead, its 4.2 billion pound profit for 2016 was more than double that of the year before.