February 22, 2017 / 7:13 AM / 6 months ago

Lloyds profit hits 10-year high as bank approaches full recovery

LONDON, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Lloyds Banking Group reported its highest full-year profit in a decade on Wednesday, as the taxpayer-backed bank nears a complete recovery from its crisis-era past.

Britain's biggest mortgage lender said pretax profit was 4.2 billion pounds ($5.25 billion), about three times higher than 1.64 billion pounds booked in the same period a year earlier.

That was worse than analysts' average estimate of 4.76 billion pounds, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The profit is a boost to the British government as it aims to return Lloyds to full private ownership in the next few months after the bank was rescued in a 20.5 billion pound taxpayer bailout during the 2008 financial crisis.

"...our performance is inextricably linked to the health of the UK economy which has been more resilient than the market expected post referendum," the bank said in a statement. ($1 = 0.8005 pounds) (Reporting By Andrew MacAskill)

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