This week, The Co-operative Group was forced to pull out of its deal to acquire 632 Lloyds Bank branches.

The move, blamed on “the impact of the current economic environment, the worsened outlook for economic growth and the increasing regulatory requirements on the financial services sector in general,” is a blow for the society. It would have given it a 7% share of the market and increased the scope and reach of not just the society’s banking operations, but the wider group as a whole - if it had worked.

“The collapse of the Lloyds deal will be a bitter blow for Peter Marks”

Beth Phillips, deputy news editor

It will also be a bitter blow for outgoing CEO Peter Marks, who has been working flat out on the deal for the past year. Marks retires three weeks today at the society’s agm, and pulling off the complicated agreement would have been one hell of a swansong.

Marks has done so much for the co-operative movement and the society in his 45-year career. Some of his decisions may not have been popular, and some have been questioned, but the society is unrecognisable from the one he took the helm of six years ago. To bow out on a bum note will be a bitter pill to swallow.