Andy Hornby, the HBOS chief executive, has been bombarded by e-mails from thousands of anxious employees worried about their jobs in the wake of the rescue takeover by Lloyds TSB.

Hornby revealed that he had received a flood of anxious messages as he wrote to staff insisting that surrendering to Lloyds was the right thing to do.

In an e-mail to all 70,000 staff on Sunday night, Hornby confirmed that inevitably there would be job reductions but that it was too early to quantify them. 'However, the majority of HBOS colleagues are likely to stay with the enlarged group, reflecting the sheer scale of the business,' he wrote.

Analysts have estimated that between 20,000 and 40,000 jobs could go across the two banks, which together employ more than 140,000 people, almost all in the UK.

The Times