Lloyds eyes Berlin for post-Brexit push

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Man on phones walks past Lloyds Bank branchImage source, Getty Images

Lloyds Banking Group has decided to set up a European base in Germany after the UK leaves the EU, the BBC understands.

Lloyds has decided to convert its Berlin branch into a European hub, in order to maintain a presence inside the EU, sources told the BBC.

Several British financial institutions are putting plans in place to protect their EU operations after Brexit.

With the UK likely to leave the EU single market, they want to make sure they can still cater for EU clients.

Lloyds is the only major British lender that does not currently have a subsidiary in another EU nation.

However, it already has a branch in Berlin and employs 300 people in the city.

Lloyds is believed to have considered both Frankfurt and Amsterdam for its European base before finally opting for Berlin.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Lloyds already employs 300 workers in Berlin

The Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported that Lloyds would apply for a new German banking licence within a few months, but the company has refused to comment.

HSBC has already said it is likely to move 1,000 workers from London to its European headquarters in Paris, while the insurance market Lloyds of London recently said it was setting up an office in Brussels.

Why are firms setting up EU bases?

For many years, British-based financial services companies have been able to operate throughout Europe using so-called passporting rights.

That scheme may end when Britain leaves the EU, with no guarantee that it will be replaced by a similar agreement.

It is that uncertainty that had led many financial companies - and particularly international banks - to make contingency plans that would see them transfer a chunk of their business to an EU member country.

How many jobs will move?

Various studies have suggested tens of thousands of financial jobs could leave the UK after Brexit.

Authorities in Paris, Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Amsterdam have all said they would welcome banks moving operations from London when the UK leaves the EU.

Many in the City of London fear a rival financial centre could emerge if many banks choose the same location, but no single place has yet materialised as a likely winner from Brexit.