On 31 October 2008, the Secretary of State (SoS) cleared the anticipated acquisition by Lloyds TSB Group PLC (Lloyds) of HBOS plc (HBOS). Earlier, in response to the pressures of the current crisis in the financial market, a Statutory Instrument was adopted which allows the SoS to intervene and take a final decision in a merger investigation on public interest grounds to ensure the "stability of the UK financial system". The SoS has exercised his powers in this instance by issuing an intervention notice. The OFT conducted an investigation of the deal and reported to the SoS that the merger could result in a substantial lessening of competition in relation to personal current accounts, banking services for small and medium sized enterprises (particularly in Scotland) and the provision of mortgages. The parties did not offer remedies in lieu of a reference to the Competition Commission. However, the SoS in this instance concluded that the OFT's concerns regarding the potential adverse impact on competition were outweighed by the public interest in preserving the stability of the UK financial system.