Lloyds has announced that it is closing a further 53 branches (21 Lloyds, 17 Bank of Scotland and 15 Halifax) between September 2023 and May 2024.
The bank has made the usual argument about customers moving to digital channels but when you look at the branches that are closing almost all of them have been starved of resources over the last few years. Closure then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. And that’s a deliberate strategy on the part of not just Lloyds but all the ‘Big Four’ banks. Many of the branches closing don’t have a permanent Banking Consultant and, therefore, can’t write any new business which makes them uneconomic. Moreover, because of staff shortages, branch opening hours have been changed constantly over the last 12 months and customers become disillusioned and look to alternative channels.
A few months ago, Charlie Nunn, Group Chief Executive, was in front of the Treasury Select Committee discussing branch closures. He was subsequently asked specifically about future branch closures and said: “We review our network on an ongoing basis but we do not set targets for the number of branches”. He must have known that Lloyds was planning a further round of branch closures when he wrote that. If he didn’t know, then he should have found out.
Whilst it’s true that there will be no redundancies because of the branch closures, that can’t continue indefinitely especially at the rate Lloyds is closing branches. There will be nowhere for staff to go.
The Union has written to MPs on the issue of branch closures and a copy of that letter can be found here.
Members with any questions on this Newsletter can contact the Union’s Bedford Office on 01234 262868 (Choose Option 1).