Lloyds Bank confirms 9,000 job losses and branch closures
- 28 October 2014
- From the section Business
Lloyds Banking Group has confirmed 9,000 job losses and the net closure of 150 branches over the next three years.
The latest job losses - representing about 10% of its workforce - come on top of 43,000 cuts made since 2008.
The bank said it would concentrate on urban branch closures first and has abandoned its pledge to keep open "the last branch in town".
The group is also setting aside another £900m to cover possible payouts for the PPI mis-selling scandal.
That has cost Lloyds £11.3bn so far, including £2.5bn in administration costs.
Other fines have topped £200m.
Lloyds, which owns the Halifax and Bank of Scotland brands, reported pre-tax profits of £1.61bn for the nine months to 30 September.
"The group is performing strongly," said chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio.
"We have met or exceeded the strategic objectives set out in 2011 and are ready to move on to the next stage in our development."
The bank says it will be closing 200 branches but opening 50 new ones, bringing the net closure figure to 150 - about 7% of its network of 2,250.
BBC business editor Kamal Ahmed has learned that Vince Cable, secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, intends to write to UK banks demanding that they re-commit to keeping "the last branch in town" open.
The present agreement brokered by the British Banking Association runs out at the end of the year.
Lloyds is willing to look at a new commitment to keep rural branches, our editor has learned.
But in towns and cities the policy of no closures if the branch is more than a mile away from the next nearest "needs a rethink", according to banking sources.
The Unite union has called on the bank to offer a "no compulsory redundancy guarantee".
Spokesman Rob MacGregor added: "The wallets of top executives at Lloyds should not be getting fat by forcing low paid workers onto the dole.
"If there are compulsory redundancies or customer service suffers then executive pay should be cut."
Analysis: Kamal Ahmed, BBC Business Editor
Lloyds doesn't want to get out of branch banking. It wants a new type of branch, complete with iPads and facilitated internet discussion screens, enabling chats with staff who may not be physically in the same branch as the customer.
Seeing a customer face-to-face or via Skype makes "up-selling" easier - that is, encouraging someone to take on an insurance product or open a savings account. For that, branches are important.
It also saves on head count, with Lloyds looking at opening some more remote branches for shorter hours so that staff can support a wider network.
Banks, of course, are still victim to changes on the high street.
One banking chief executive has been heard to say that his busiest branch is the 07:20 commuter service into Waterloo - people on the train are doing their banking on their mobile phone.
The closures and job cuts are due to customers switching towards mobile banking, the bank says.
As a result, Lloyds will be investing £1bn in digital technology over the next three years.
According to the banking trade body the BBA, digital banking transactions are now worth almost £1bn a day, with almost 40 million mobile and internet banking transactions every week.
The bank remains confident that it will be able to pay a dividend to shareholders in 2014, but it needs the permission of the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) before it can do so.
Finance director George Culmer said talks with the PRA were "in a good position".
Earlier this year, Lloyds spun off the TSB bank as a separate floated business to appease European Union competition authorities.
It has gradually been reducing its stake in TSB and now owns just 50%, Lloyds said.
The government still holds a 25% stake in the bank, but has reduced its holding from about 39% through two separate share sales since September last year.
In early trading, shares in Lloyds Banking Group were down 1.5% on the news.
On Monday, its shares fell 1.8% after the European Banking Authority's results revealed that the bank only narrowly passed its "stress test".