We announced in the final quarter of last year that we'd achieved our integration goal of GBP 2 billion of run rate synergies well before the 3-year target period. I'm pleased to report that over and above competing integration in the second half of last year, we've also begun to deliver simplification. You'll note the program's already generated savings of GBP 242 million run rate at December 2011. Now I regard that as a strong start.
Rather than look at our performance on cost just for 1 year, it's worth looking at the longer-term trend. This slide shows the progression of costs for Lloyds Banking Group from the acquisition of HBOS in January 2009 to the present day. The pro forma cost base of the newly combined group was just over GBP 12.2 billion. It is now GBP 10.6 billion, down just over GBP 1.6 billion. This represents an absolute 13% reduction.
The principal driver is integration savings, which are passed through to the bottom line. That number of GBP 1,851 million savings is the in-year benefit in 2011, which translates to the run rate in excess of GBP 2 billion that we've reported. And in line with our strategy of reducing noncore assets in the Asset Finance business, operating lease depreciation has also reduced substantially over the period by GBP 663 million.
Now these reductions have been partly offset by cost increases reflected in bank levy, wage inflation, national insurance, energy costs and VAT, together with some early investment in the strategic initiatives that António has described earlier.And last but not least, the early mobilization of simplification has now delivered GBP 178 million in the year. This is particularly pleasing as it overlaps with the key closing stages of integration and once again demonstrates the maturity of our change management capability to deal with both complexity and scale. All in all, I hope you agree this shows a strong downward momentum in costs and evidences our determination to deliver benefits and savings through to the bottom line.
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