West Midlands set to lose branches as Lloyds Bank wields the axe
Lloyds Bank has revealed the full list of its latest branch closure programme, with facilities in Birmingham city centre, Staffordshire and Worcestershire all set to be axed.
Taking into account closures at the Halifax and Bank of Scotland, 100 branches will close between July and September, resulting in the loss of 325 jobs.
In a further blow to the banking sector, Lloyds has also announced that an additional 200 managerial staff are to be axed as part of a business re-organisation.
The branch closures are part of a three-year programme of cutbacks designed to trim costs at the bank. Around 400 branches are set to close altogether as part of the programme, which will ultimately see the bank’s workforce reduced by around 12,000 people.
The branches in the West Midlands which will close as part of the latest phase of the programme are Colmore Row in Birmingham city centre, Brewood in South Staffordshire, Broadway in Worcestershire and the branch in Lichfield Road, Stafford, close to the site of the former GEC factory.
In addition to these, the branch of Halifax in Droitwich will also close.
The bank has said it intends to serve some of the more remote areas with mobile banking vehicles.
The closures come swiftly after RBS and NatWest announced the closure of 158 branches across the UK, and in January HSBC revealed it would be closing a further 62 branches.
Rob MacGregor, national officer the Unite trade union, said: “The continuous stream of branch closures announced by the UK’s retail bank branches appears to show no signs of ending. 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 programs and open its eyes to what these closures are doing to rural communities, disabled customers and the small business customers who depend on access to a local branch.”
Elsewhere, Paul Miles Rogers, chair of the Warwickshire & Coventry Federation of Small Businesses, said it was very worrying to see more local bank closures – even though his area was amongst those unaffected.
“Cash still remains an important element of many small firms and it needs to be banked at the end of the day. For some small businesses online banking is not always a viable substitute, not least because of poor broadband coverage in many rural areas,” he said.
“While there are moves by some banks to allow basic services to be accessed in Post Office branches, the Post Office is not yet able to step in as an alternative with full business services.
“The onus is now on Lloyds to take steps to ensure access to banking is being protected under the terms of the access to banking protocol.”