Lloyds Banking Group sees profits fall 6pc to £2.1bn

File photo dated 18/03/14 of a Lloyds sign, as the banking group will post first quarter results tom

File photo dated 18/03/14 of a Lloyds sign, as the banking group will post first quarter results tomorrow following a recent mortgage lending boom sparked by the buy-to-let rush ahead of this month's stamp duty increase. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday April 27, 2016. See PA story CITY LLoyds. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Lloyds Banking Group cheered a 'robust' performance in the first three months of the year as it posted a 6pc dip in underlying profits to £2.1bn.

It said that, excluding the TSB business, which it sold last year, profits were 'stable' on a year earlier.

The lender has escaped the hefty profits hit suffered by its investment banking rivals, with Barclays posting a 25pc fall in first-quarter profits on Wednesday.

On a bottom-line basis, pre-tax profits dropped 46pc to £654m, but this includes a £790m charge from buying back high-interest bonds - also called 'enhanced capital notes' or ECNs - from investors.

Group chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio said the results show the group's ability to 'actively respond to the challenging operating environment'.

Total loans and advances to customers were £457bn at the end of March 2016, an increase of £2bn since the final quarter of 2015.

Customer deposits were £1bn higher since 2015 at £419bn.

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The group said it took no further charges for the payment protection insurance (PPI) mis-selling scandal.

It saw statutory pre-tax profits fall 7pc to £1.64bn in 2015 after taking a £2.1bn PPI hit.

But the group said in its latest update that PPI claims had been 'broadly' in line with its expectations so far in 2016, at around 8,500 a week.