Lloyds to close 60 branches after shift to online banking

A booming mortgage market and an economic recovery that made it less likely that Covid-hit borrowers would default on loans helped Lloyds Banking Group double its profits in the three months to September.

Lloyds Banking Group has said it plans to shut 60 branches across the country, adding to recent closures as customers move financial management online.

Britain’s biggest lender said it would close 24 Lloyds branches, as well as 19 Bank of Scotland and 17 Halifax sites.

Up to 124 staff are affected, but Lloyds said it would try to find those staff new roles within the company.

The bank said use of its mobile banking app was up 27 per cent over the past two years, and there was a 12 per cent rise in regular users of its online banking system. Now 18.6 million people bank online and 15 million use the app.

Vim Maru, retail director, said: “Just like many other high street businesses, fewer customers are choosing to visit our branches.

“Our branch network is an important way for us to support our customers, but we need to adapt to the significant growth in customers choosing to do most of their everyday banking online.”

The group currently has 739 Lloyds branches, 553 Halifax branches and 184 Bank of Scotland sites.

Caren Evans, national officer for the Unite union, said: “Lloyds Banking Group must not be allowed to abandon 60 more local communities where bank branches play an essential role.

“The 124 employees who work tirelessly in their communities are dedicated to serving the banking needs of the most vulnerable who depend on their skilled services.

“When a bank branch closes, the heart of the local community is ripped out and the results are devastating.”

The news follows several other closures from the bank, which said in October it could close 48 sites, and announced 44 closures in June last year.

Last week, HSBC said it would close 69 branches this year, while NatWest Group said it would shut 32 branches.