And now some proof that Lloyds has good reasons to fear a close relationship with the government. Chancellor Alistair Darling, although still thinkering with deatils, has reportedly decided to sell some of the retail banking operations of banks that are controlled by the government. The banks mentioned are Northern Rock, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds. On the plus side, the move appears to be designed to increase competition, as buyers will have to be new to the highly-profitable UK market. Some of the names mentioned include Virgin and supermarket chain Tesco, as well as US and European banks. Of course the transaction would have to be approved by the EU, pushing estimate of actual implementation to 2015.