Lloyds Banking Group has reportedly asked the European competition authorities to give it more time to sell the branches it is required to remove as a condition for its bail-out.
According to the Sunday Telegraph, the bank began talks with the European Commission earlier in June to give it an extra two years to sell the 631 branches. The current deadline for the sale is 30 November.
Lloyds, which is 39 per cent owned by the UK government, has reportedly asked to be given until the end of 2015 to find a buyer. It is currently planning to sell the branches under the TSB moniker via a share listing on the London Stock Exchange.
The agreed sale to the Co-operative Bank collapsed in April amid concerns over the firm's financial position. The Co-operative has since drawn up plans to plug the gap in its balance sheet after claiming economic conditions forced it to pull out of the deal.
By Tony Aynsley