DEBBIE Crosbie, chief operating officer of CYBG, gave a resolutely upbeat assessment of the bank’s interim results yesterday.

Ms Crosbie pointed to a “solid” performance by the institution in the six months to March 31, with underlying profits up 28.5% to £158 million. A reduction in costs and an increase in lending to SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) were among other highlights.

But the legacy of PPI mis-selling continues weigh heavily on the bank. Ms Crosbie insisted that the “end is in sight” in terms of CYBG’s provisions for the scandal, which have so far seen it set aside close to £2.5 billion to compensate consumers. And while chief executive David Duffy said the size of the additional provision in the first half was “disappointing”, leading the bank to report an interim loss of £95m, he emphasised that CYBG’s capital strength means it can absorb the impact while making no change to its strategy for future growth.

However, with the bank’s share price tumbling by nearly six per cent yesterday, it appears that investors are not quite so sanguine. With Mr Duffy himself pointing to the “slightly weaker environment” the bank is operating in, and the interest rate remaining stuck at 0.5%, the need for CYBG to stage a successful takeover for Virgin Money to drive its growth ambitions seems increasingly important.