By Amaka Agwuegbo, with Agency report
UK Financial Investments Limited (UKFI), which manages public stakes in two banks, said every household had more than Â£3,000 invested in Lloyds and RBS shares.
But the Â£34.5bn currently invested shrunk to Â£23.6bn last month – a 32% paper loss of Â£10.9bn, equivalent to about Â£950 per household. The taxpayer is still deeply in the red despite a relative recovery in bank stocks in recent months. In February, the shares were showing losses of Â£18.1bn.
The figures came as UKFI published its first annual report and strategy for selling the public stakes in the ailing banks – although it warned an exit could take several years. The taxpayer currently owns 70% of RBS and 43% of Lloyds, but after extra shares are issued under a scheme to insure the banksâ€™ toxic debts, this will rise to 84% and 62% respectively.
Acting UKFI chairman, Glen Moreno, said: â€œMake no mistake, this ainâ€™t over yet. We are a long way away from normalcy in the worldâ€™s financial markets.â€ Mr Moreno said the bodyâ€™s aim was to achieve â€œsound, prudent and profitable banksâ€, adding: â€œUKFI is not a short-term investor.â€
Chief executive, John Kingman, the senior Treasury official who led negotiations with the banks over the rescue, said the public â€œrightly expectedâ€ to get their money back.
Mr Kingman said he could not â€œsensibly answerâ€ questions over when the stakes would be sold, although the body was not â€œcurrently workingâ€ on any transactions.