Lloyds Banking Group has confirmed that Ireland's financial regulator Matthew Elderfield will join the bank in October.

He will have responsibility for overseeing all compliance and conduct risk activities at the UK bank.

Lloyds said Elderfield, who is currently deputy governor of the Central Bank here, would become director of conduct and compliance at the part-nationalised British lender.

Elderfield said earlier this month that he would step down from his role with the Central Bank after three years in the job.

Earlier, Lloyds reported a big rise in profits for the first three months of the year as lending returned to growth thanks to stronger business borrowing.

The British bank reported a statutory pre-tax profit of £2.04 billion in the first quarter. This was up from £280m for the same time last year.

Group chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio said the group had made "substantial progress" in the first three months of the year, with lending to businesses boosted by the government and Bank of England's Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS).

Lloyds said it was continuing to invest in "simple, lower risk, customer focused UK retail and commercial banking".

It also revealed today that the bill for offloading more than 600 branches under the TSB brand is likely to reach £1.3 billion after its deal with The Co-operative collapsed last week.

Lloyds said the costs of the branch spin-off were already near £1 billion and would rise by up to another £300m as it presses ahead with a flotation for the middle of 2014, if it can gain European Commission approval to extend an end of the year deadline.

The bank's attempts to see a return of full-year profits have been hampered by more than £12.1 billion of losses tied to the collapse of the Irish property market and the spiraling cost of compensating clients who were sold payment-protections insurance they did not need.

Lloyds' bad debts down by 40%

Lloyds profits were boosted as its bad debts plunged by 40% to £1 billion and after it slashed costs by another 6%.

The group said it was ramping up cost-cutting efforts by another £200m this year under a programme that has already seen more than 8,800 jobs culled - including nearly 1,900 in the first quarter alone.

It said the extra savings would be made across the business, but were not expected to lead to further job losses on top of those already planned.

The bank said that net lending to small businesses grew by 4%, while its overall commercial loan book returned to growth earlier than planned, although Lloyds said net mortgage lending was not expected to start increasing until the third quarter as it continues to shrink its home loan business.

Lloyds also said complaints relating to payment protection insurance (PPI) had dropped by 28% since the end of last year - to around 15,000 a week and were expected to continue falling.

But it is counting the cost of the branch disposal programme - required to meet European rules on state aid - with mooted returns of around £1 billion from a flotation likely to be wiped out by nearly £1.3 billion in costs of separating and listing the business.

The sale to the Co-operative - for a reported £750m - collapsed last Wednesday after the mutual walked away, saying the deal was not in the best interests of its customers.

Mr Horta-Osorio also played down speculation over UK government plans to sell its stake in the bank, saying that Lloyds was not currently in discussions with the Treasury.

Lloyds added that it was "taking all the necessary actions" to bolster its balance sheet after the Bank of England recently revealed a £25 billion capital hole among Britain's major lenders - with Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays believed to account for £9 billion of the shortfall between them.

Lloyds said it was waiting to hear more from the Prudential Regulation Authority, but remained "confident in our capital position".

The group is selling off a raft of assets to focus on its core business following the rescue takeover of HBOS during the financial crisis, recently selling a 20% stake in wealth manager St James's Place, which helped boost first quarter profits by £394m.

It also yesterday agreed to sell its retail banking operations in Spain to reduce its exposure to the struggling country, offloading a loss-making portfolio of mortgages and deposits to Banco Sabadell in return for a 1.8% stake in the Spanish bank worth £72m.

Fellow part-nationalised player RBS follows with its first quarter figures on Friday amid further pressure on boss Stephen Hester after more IT woes at NatWest and the Financial Conduct Authority's decision to investigate its computer meltdown last summer.

The 81% state-owned group is expected to see underlying profits hit by a weak performance from its markets division, with analysts pointing to a change in culture and low staff morale after its Libor rigging settlement.