Shareholders of the struggling lender Co-operative Bank have given the go-ahead to the proposed £700m rescue package for the lender.

Under the rescue plan, the Co-operative Group’s stake in the bank will be reduced to 1% to 20% with five US hedge fund firms controlling the remaining stake.

The restructuring and recapitalisation of the bank is expected to be completed on 1 September 2017.

The proposal will avert the winding up of the bank and allow it to operate as a standalone entity.

The bank, with a customer base of four million, almost collapsed in 2013 following a £1.5bn capital black hole but was rescued by a group of US hedge funds.

Earlier this year, the bank put itself up for sale but scrapped the process in June 2017.

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