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Taxpayer-backed Lloyds increases staff bonuses 8 per cent and announces return of dividend

A customer walks into a branch of Lloyds Bank in London, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. Taxpayer-backed Lloyds has backed an increase in its bonus pool and confirmed its plan to pay a dividend for the first time in years. The British lender said Thursday it is increasing bonus payments 8 percent to 395 million pounds for 2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

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A customer walks into a branch of Lloyds Bank in London, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. Taxpayer-backed Lloyds has backed an increase in its bonus pool and confirmed its plan to pay a dividend for the first time in years. The British lender said Thursday it is increasing bonus payments 8 percent to 395 million pounds for 2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

LONDON - Taxpayer-backed Lloyds has backed an increase in its bonus pool and confirmed its plan to pay a dividend for the first time in years.

The British lender said Thursday it is increasing bonus payments 8 per cent to 395 million pounds for 2013.

And the bank said it is hoping to pay a dividend in the second half of 2014, which would be the first since the financial crisis. That announcement, first revealed last week, comes as Lloyds prepares to shed state ownership.

The bank said its net loss narrowed to 838 million pounds ($1.4 billion) from 1.47 billion pounds a year earlier. On an underlying level, profit rose to 6.2 billion pounds from 2.6 billion pounds, even after a 3.1 billion pound charge for mis-selling payment protection insurance.

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