UK-based The Co-operative Bank has hired an investment bank as it looks for potential acquisitions to consolidate the mid-size banking market, Sky News has reported.

The Co-operative Bank has chosen PJT Partners to help it with scrutinising potential targets and advise it on the financing requirements for any deal.

The news comes as the lender has reported a full-year profit for the first time in a decade.

It has reported a statutory profit before tax of £31.1m and an underlying profit of £41m for the year ended 31 December 2021.

The Co-operative Bank CEO Nick Slape said: “2021 has been a milestone year for The Co-operative Bank, in which we have delivered against the ambitious turnaround plan set three years ago to significantly improve the financial strength and stability of the bank.

“I am delighted to report our first full year of profit in ten years, signalling a return to sustainable profitability, with a statutory profit before tax of £31.1m. These positive results demonstrate that our position on ethical and social matters is not only good for our communities but also delivers strong commercial outcomes.”

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In October last year, The Co-operative Bank’s £1bn takeover bid for TSB Bank was rejected by Spanish lender Banco de Sabadell.

TSB’s acquisition would have created a business with eight million customers in areas such as mortgage lending, current accounts and savings products, the report said.

In 2013, the bank had to turn towards US hedge funds for a £1.5bn rescue after it had almost collapsed. Later in 2017, the bank put itself on sale but decided against it.