May 18--FURIOUS Lloyds shareholders have attacked the bank for gloating over its return to private ownership while they still nurse huge losses following its near-collapse.
Thousands of investors owned the stock in the run-up to the financial crisis because it reliably paid large dividends and offered good returns.
That changed after the lender's disastrous acquisition of rival HBOS forced taxpayers into a pounds sterling 20.3bn bailout in 2008.
Shares dived and payouts dried up. The Government took a 43.4pc stake and has since sold it off, with the final tranche traded yesterday, resulting in a profit of pounds sterling 900m.
It prompted crowing statements from bosses at the bank and politicians.
But small shareholders are still heavily out of pocket.
A saver with shares worth pounds sterling 10,000 on the eve of the HBOS deal would find they are now worth pounds sterling 2,620 and they had suffered six years without a dividend. The Lloyds Shareholder Action Group which represents 6,000 investors suing the lender for pounds sterling 450m over claims it misled them on the HBOS deal, said: 'It is disgraceful that the Government is gloating about making a profit from selling its stake in Lloyds.'
It said many people were encouraged to buy Lloyds shares as part of their pension, and had not been compensated for bailing out HBOS.'
Those affected include 54-year-old paramedic Derek McCarthy and his wife who lost pounds sterling 80,000 on the drop in price and unpaid dividends.
'Thousands just like me lost the value of their shares and their dividends, and thus their chance to have a comfortable retirement,' said the former bomb disposal diver.
Chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio yesterday boasted that Lloyds was now 'one of the strongest banks in the world' and Prime Minister Theresa May also highlighted the sale. Lloyds shares rose 2pc, or 1.37p, to 71.52p.
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