Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lloyds Bank Criticised for Branch Closure Plans; BANKING

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lloyds Bank Criticised for Branch Closure Plans; BANKING

Article excerpt

Byline: COREENA FORD coreena.ford@ncjmedia.co.uk

LLOYDS Bank is closing a further 100 branches, resulting in more than 200 job losses, the Unite union has said.

Unite said the "continuous stream" of branch closures by the UK's retail banks appeared to show no signs of ending.

The union said the announcement will affect 54 Lloyds branches, 22 Halifax branches and 24 Bank of Scotland branches.

Rob MacGregor, Unite national officer, said: "The loss of a further 100 local banks will be painful for high streets across the country to absorb.

"Unite is angered that another 200 staff have today been told that their job will be cut due to their branch shutting.

"Lloyds Banking Group's rationale for branch closures is the claimed customer preference towards the use of technology across banking.

"However this simply doesn't ring true when it's clear that many customers still value the face-to-face engagement with experienced and knowledgeable bank staff.

"The industry must halt these endless branch closure programmes and open their eyes to what these closures are doing to rural communities, their disabled customers and the small business customers who depend on access to a local branch."

A Lloyds spokesman said the group's retail division was cutting 325 jobs as part of previously announced reductions under a management restructuring, while 96 new roles will be created.

The 100 branches will close between July and October, part of some 200 closures announced last summer.

Those closures include the loss of the Esh Winning, Langley Moor and Sacriston branches in County Durham, Bellingham and Corbridge in Northumberland and Chopwell, Washington and Yarm branches, all of which shut their doors last month.

"These branch closures - previously announced in July 2016 - are in response to changing customer behaviour, and the reduced number of transactions being made in branches," said the Lloyds spokesman.

"Our branches will continue to play a vital role in our multi-channel approach to meeting the full range of customer needs, and we expect to continue to have the biggest branch network in the UK. …

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