Page last updated at 16:24 GMT, Tuesday, 23 September 2008 17:24 UK

Salmond to lead bank presentation

Alex Salmond and Archie Kane
Mr Kane said both Lloyds TSB and HBOS have a strong Scottish heritage

The first minister is to lead a government presentation to Lloyds TSB's chairman, Sir Victor Blank, it has emerged.

It comes after Alex Salmond held talks with the bank's board member Archie Kane, who is drawing up details of the 12.2bn HBOS takeover.

Mr Salmond pressed for assurances about the retention of jobs and for the new bank's headquarters to be in Scotland.

Mr Kane said Lloyds TSB had to listen to the issues raised at the meeting.

HBOS was formed in 2001 from a merger between the Halifax and Scotland's oldest bank, the Bank of Scotland.

Lloyds TSB announced last week it had agreed a takeover after shares in Edinburgh-based HBOS plummeted.


Newsnight Scotland asks if market turmoil helped bank bosses complete a deal they had been discussing for some time

The move has raised fears that jobs will be lost and the 300-year-old Scottish institution's heritage will be eroded.

Mr Salmond said: "Lloyds TSB have agreed to have a submission from the Scottish Government which will present the arguments for Scotland as a location for key head office decision-making functions.

"We have a very powerful case to present on the advantages that instils to the company on an economic and financial basis."

Mr Kane said after the meeting: "We have two organisations that we're trying to put together that have a long, strong Scottish heritage, and there's a great and deep understanding of the issues as they pertain to Scotland.

"We are very interested in pulling together all of the concerns and we will put that into our planning process.

"We haven't started our planning for this deal yet but it's important that we listen to all of the issues that have been reported to us today."

Opposition party leaders who spoke to Mr Kane before his talks with the first minister said their meetings were constructive.

It may be possible to get another foreign bank to come in and make a bid for this bank
Jim Spowart

Iain Gray, the leader of the Scottish Labour Party, said he was reassured by Lloyds' "commitment to Scotland".

Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie said politicians could not dictate what commercial decisions the new bank should make, but it was their job to champion the case for Scotland.

Tavish Scott, the Liberal Democrat leader, said Lloyds recognised the importance of financial services "to Scotland's DNA".

Meanwhile, the financier behind attempts to save the Bank of Scotland has suggested that a foreign bank or investment fund might step in to take it over.

Jim Spowart, who created Intelligent Finance, said: "It may be possible to get another foreign bank to come in and make a bid for this bank, in which case the head office would be kept intact and perhaps the bank could continue to run as is."

He said another possibility was to consider stripping out the Bank of Scotland from HBOS.

The meeting comes after a summit of Scottish politicians and business leaders agreed a "national statement of concern" about the situation.

Summit held over takeover of HBOS
22 Sep 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
HBOS chief defends takeover deal
22 Sep 08 |  Scotland
Lloyds move 'only show in town'
21 Sep 08 |  Scotland
Former rival mourns bank takeover
21 Sep 08 |  Scotland
Bank buy-out idea floated by MSP
21 Sep 08 |  Scotland
Bank chief plays down job fears
19 Sep 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Q&A: Lloyds TSB and HBOS
18 Sep 08 |  Business
Lloyds TSB seals 12bn HBOS deal
17 Sep 08 |  Business
Salmond attacks financial 'spivs'
17 Sep 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

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