EDINBURGH, May 14 (Reuters) - State-backed Lloyds Banking Group could be returned to full private ownership in the next 12 months, its Chairman Norman Blackwell told reporters.
The government, which pumped 20 billion pounds ($31.6 billion) into the bank to bail it out during the 2007-9 financial crisis, has already reduced its stake to under 20 percent from 41 percent.
It is continuing to sell the shares to financial institutions such as pension funds and insurers and is also planning a sale to private retail investors later in the year.
Asked if the government could complete its exit in the next year, Blackwell said: "It's possible and would be very desirable. Whether the government can achieve that depends on the market conditions."
$1 = 0.6334 pounds Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Pravin Char