Can anyone actually remember a time before PPI payouts? When we were all merrily forking out a few quid a month, blissful in our ignorance that our premiums probably wouldn't protect us against anything, intoxicatingly free of constant phonecalls asking if we'd bought PPI? Before banks had to set aside gajillions for angry customers? No? Us neither.
So we're a little surprised by shareholders' reactions to Lloyds' announcement this morning it's set aside another £600m to compensate disgruntled PPI customers. Shares had fallen more than 2.8% in mid-morning trading. Yesterday Barclays made a similar announcement as part of its first-half results, saying it had set aside £900m. Last week, RBS announced £150m.
Perhaps it was more to do with Lloyds' £226m Libor rate-rigging settlement, although that one feels like it's been going on for donkey's years as well. It was also slapped with a £218m fine earlier this week for manipulating various benchmark rates. Sigh.
Not that anyone's counting any more, but Lloyds' announcement this morning brings the total PPI compensation set aside by the banking industry to a cool £23bn. Lloyds has been particularly naughty: fines levelled against it make up £10bn of that.
Still, shareholders can at least take solace in the bank's first-half figures: chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio said it had made 'substantial progress', with underlying profit rising 32%. Net interest income rose 12% to £5.8bn, while impairment charges - charges on bad loans - fell by more than half to £758m. Not bad.
Unfortunately, though, the likelihood of governments easing pressure on banks for their many and various transgressions is low: at the moment, the Serious Fraud Office is examining whether it should bring criminal charges against it (and other banks) for Libor, plus there's still an ongoing investigation into manipulation of foreign exchange rates. If shareholders think PPI is too much, there's a lot more misery to come...