Lloyds Banking Group has announced it is to close 44 more bank branches across England and Wales.
The closures will take place between September and November and add to 56 already shut earlier this year, taking the total to 100.
Lloyds said the latest announcement included 29 Lloyds Bank branches and 15 Halifax sites.
Vim Maru, the group’s retail director, said customers had been carrying out “significantly fewer transactions at these locations” over the past five years while digital banking numbers grow.
“Like many businesses on the high street, we must change for a future where branches will be used in a different way, and visited less often,” Mr Maru said.
But trade union Unite said the decision was a “bitter blow” to staff and customers and accused the bank of “walking away” from local communities.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) also voiced disappointment.
Vice chairman Martin McTague said: “Bank branches are not only critical to those who still depend on cash – often society’s most vulnerable – they also serve as a draw for shoppers, meaning footfall for surrounding small businesses.”
Lloyds said there were no compulsory redundancies but did not disclose the number of staff working at the affected branches.
It said that more than a third of closures were of branches in or around cities or large towns with another branch close by and that all were in line with industry standards designed to protect access to banking.
The group said that across its branch network, transactions had fallen 10% a year in the five years to March 2020 and “significantly further” in the year since.
Its announcement follows a pattern of closures announced in recent years across the sector and intensifying in the wake of the pandemic as customer banking shifts online.
Lloyds said that even after the closures it would still have the largest branch network in the UK, with 779 Lloyds Bank sites, 560 Halifax branches, and 184 under its Bank of Scotland brand.
In April, the group reported a surge in first quarter profits to £1.9bn compared to £74m a year earlier as mortgage lending picked up and its growth outlook for the UK improved.
Meanwhile, chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio bowed out after a decade at the helm during which he was paid a total of £60m.
The list of the 29 Lloyds Bank and 15 Halifax branches to shut:
The Lloyds sites to be closed:
• Bournemouth Westbourne
• Cardiff Rumney
• Leeds Horsforth
• Stony (Stafford)
• Church Village (Pontypridd)
• Morley (Leeds)
• London Regent Street
• London Berkeley Square
• London Kentish Town
• London Gants Hill
• Oakham (East Midlands)
• Quinton (Birmingham)
• Brighton Preston Circus
• Halstead (Essex)
• Holsworthy (Devon)
• Kempston (near Bedford)
• Tadley (Hampshire)
• Cheltenham Bath Road
• Newport Maindee
• Sedgley Dudley (Staffordshire)
The Halifax branches to close:
• Manchester Cross Street
• Plaistow West Ham
• Potters Bar
• Market Harborough
• Chesterfield Central Pavilion
Source: Read Full Article