The most interesting story to emerge over the weekend is the suggestion in the Independent on Sunday that Lloyds will favour listed property companies over private equity groups when it comes to setting up joint ventures to take billions in distressed real estate assets off their balance sheet.
How much appetite firms like Land Securities and British Land will have for investing in and then working out distressed assets is open to question. This is more familiar territory for the likes of Blackstone and Apollo. But apparently Lloyds fears bad PR from the quick profits that might accrue to the buy and break up merchants.
This tale does chime slightly with the news that unlisted by very respectable Grosvenor has been approached to do a joint venture with Lloyds. Further credibility is added by the now un-ignorable rumours that the bank is close to a rights issue that will allow it to put a much smaller proportion of its £50bn of real estate assets into the government insurance scheme.
This also feels like the sort of thing a reputable bank like Lloyds with a disreputable HBOS portfolio might at least try. It is also not hard to imagine the hand of the major shareholder (HM Government) gently steering the banks away from deals that will lead to headlines in three years time along the lines of "US vulture funds makes killing from Labour's bank rescue plans."