Our work on LOBO loans has reached an important milestone: we are publish all the data we hold on the loans in one comprehensive database. Councillors and residents will be able to search the database for their council and find out which banks they have loans with as well as which loans have been exited and at what price.

The database is the first comprehensive depository of information about LOBO loans. We hope it will enable more UK councils to exit the loans, restoring public accountability and reclaiming public money for much-needed services. You can access the site here: https://loboloans.info/

When the LOBO loans campaign started in 2015, very few people were aware that more than 200 local authorities across the UK had taken out these toxic loans totalling at least £14 bn. We are now able to show that since the start of the campaign, councils have exited £1.6 bn worth of loans and another £3.9 bn have been transformed into fixed-rate loans.

LOBO loans are particularly bad deals for councils and have been described by financial experts as “lose-lose bets” with the banks. 

  • They are expensive as they are usually very long term (40-70 years) and have interest rates that are 2-10% higher than current central government interest rates via the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB).

  • They are risky as they contain embedded derivatives in the form of options as indicated by the name LOBO which stands for Lender Option, Borrower Option.

From 2015 councils started exiting some of their loans, following a campaign led by Debt Resistance UK and Research for Action:

  • In 2016, Barclays transformed £3.9bln worth of LOBO loans into fixed rate loans

  • In 2018 and 2019, RBS allowed councils to exit a total of £1. bln of loans.

  • A few european banks have also allowed councils to exit about half a billion of LOBO debt

The database shows which councils and banks have exited the deals, and where known, what exit fees were paid, which on average have been 25% of the outstanding interest owed to the banks. As a result, some councils have made large savings allowing them to direct the resulting funds towards essential services.

Excluding loans that have been recently transformed into fixed rate loans, 95% of the outstanding LOBO debt is now owed to European Banks to which councils are still projected to pay at least £14 billion in interest payments until the loans reach the end of their 50-70 year term, with some interest rates as high as 11.5%Instead, councils could be borrowing from central government via the PWLB at 1-2.5%. 

Currently the councils with most LOBO debt are:

  • £409m - Glasgow

  • £318m - Manchester 

  • £277m - Fife 

  • £230m - Leeds 

  • £223m - Newcastle upon Tyne 

  • £219m - Cornwall

  • £219m - Salford

  • £180m - Sheffield

  • £172m - Edinburgh

  • £165m - Newham

Search for your council here: https://loboloans.info/