Lloyds Banking Group Wednesday reported its first profit since turning to the government for a bailout 21 months ago, as bad loans more than halved and it made more money from mortgage customers. First-half pretax profit was £1.6bn (US$2.5bn) — far exceeding analyst expectations — and loan impairments fell to £6.55bn in the period, compared with a £3.96bn loss in the first half of 2009 when loan impairments had soared to £13.4bn.

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3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

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