Lloyds Banking Group boss will not rule out further job losses

Lloyds Banking Group’s boss has refused to rule out further job cuts as the lender overhauls its IT systems.

The high street lender has announced nearly 10,000 job cuts since the Government sold off its stake in the lender to take it fully private in May 2017.

Chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio told CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that it was conceivable there would be further job losses at the bank.

“I’m not ruling it out. It will depend on customer behaviour. We have to serve our customers, and depending on the way they want to interact with us, we will need more or less people.”

Mr Horta-Osorio said Lloyds delivered 600,000 hours of training last year to employees, a 60% increase from the year earlier, in order to “prepare them for the jobs of today, and especially for the skills they need for the jobs of the future”.

Lloyds, along with other high street stalwarts such as Royal Bank of Scotland, has closed branches and shed jobs to reduce costs and respond to changing habits, with customers banking more online than visiting bricks-and-mortar outlets.

On Wednesday, Santander revealed that it will close 140 branches, putting more than 1,200 jobs at risk, while Barclays announced earlier this month that scores of jobs in Leeds are at risk.

Lloyds is in the midst of a three-year transformation programme and said last year that it will invest £3 billion to upgrade its digital baking offering.

According to the Financial Times, Lloyds is planning to transfer data of 500,000 customers to a new platform developed by start-up Thought Machine in order to reduce costs.

Meanwhile, Mr Horta-Osorio said the British economy is “performing in a very resilient manner” despite prolonged uncertainty surrounding Britain’s impending departure from the European Union.

He pointed to recent jobs data from the Office for National Statistics that said employment reached a record high of 32.5 million between September and November and strong GDP growth figures.

Mr Horta-Osorio said if Brexit “uncertainty is lifted, it’s logical that investors will make up their minds, and they will go back, and invest back into UK stocks, so that should be the case, if we have a deal before 29th March”.

MPs are set for another crunch vote on the Prime Minister’s so-called Plan B Brexit deal on January 29, months away from Britain’s scheduled departure from the bloc on March 29.

Theresa May’s first deal was voted down by Parliament by a majority of 230.