The future of thousands of jobs is in the balance in the wake of Lloyds TSB’s £12.2bn takeover of Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS).
While Lloyds dismissed claims that up to 40,000 jobs faced the axe as “ridiculous”, it refused to rule out compulsory redundancies.
The takeover will lead to cost savings of more than £1bn, Lloyds added.
Meanwhile the global markets were calmer after central banks pumped billions of dollars in extra funds.
The UK government also said it is “determined” to ensure the stability of the financial system and protect savers.
Gordon Brown pledged to “do everything to protect depositors in Britain, who need to have confidence in the banking system”.
The takeover by Lloyds TSB values shares in HBOS at 232p each.
By close of trade in London on Thursday, when the deal was announced, shares in HBOS closed up 17%, at 172p, while Lloyds shares shed 17.7% to 253p.