Lloyds to cut further 3000 jobs and close 200 branches in wake of Brexit vote

Lloyds to cut further 3000 jobs and close 200 branches in wake of Brexit vote

Lloyds Banking Group is accelerating its cost-cutting drive by announcing more job cuts and branch closures despite doubling its profit in the first half of 2016.

The UK high street bank made £2.5bn pre-tax profit, up from £1.2bn for the same period in 2015, however much of this was down to the fact that the bank was not forced to set aside cash to cover penalties for PPI mis-selling.

Instead the bank is planning to cut 3,000 jobs and close 200 branches in order to save an extra £400m by the end of 2017 as a result of the recent Brexit vote and a likely slump in customer activity.

"Following the EU referendum, the outlook for the UK economy is uncertain and, while the precise impact is dependent upon a number of factors, including EU negotiations and political and economic events, a deceleration of growth seems likely," said Lloyds chief executive António Horta-Osório.

Lloyds announced a major cost-cutting exercise in 2014 with a plan to save £1bn by the end of 2017 by cutting 9,000 jobs and closing 200 branches. The bank then also forewarned of further changes in June when it suggested that 23 branches and 640 jobs would be cut.

The decision to increase the amount of branch closures and job cuts is also a result of changing customer behaviour, said Horta-Osório. The number of branch transactions continues to drop and has accelerated from 8% to 15% in recent years. In addition Lloyds has continued to invest heavily in its digital banking offering, which it claims is now the biggest in the UK with more than 12 million online users.

Comments: (10)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 28 July, 2016, 11:431 like 1 like

So the bank that professes to want to 'Make Britain Prosper' and 'Puts Customers First' wants to close branches that offer a service to remote people (from elderly to small businesses) and put more people onto the dole queue all for the sake of even more profits than an obscene £2.5bn in 6 months.

They could at least be transparent enough to remove these slogans that clearly are just not true - unless you can add 'where we profit' to each one.

Melvin Haskins
Melvin Haskins - Haston International Limited - 28 July, 2016, 18:052 likes 2 likes

Dear Lloyds Bank, using Brexit as an excuse to close branches is criminal. You were going to close them anyway and Brexit has provided you with an excuse

Craig Lawrance
Craig Lawrance - Starkspur Ltd - Chalfonts 28 July, 2016, 18:12Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

as Melvyn H stated, using Brexit as an excuse is lazy and disingenuous. Plans were already afoot; The reality is that much as we all like to think we have a branch close by, increasingly we're using digital platforms for our banking.  These bank utlities are going to find it hard to differentiate themselves from one another.

Brett King
Brett King - Moven - New York 28 July, 2016, 19:393 likes 3 likes

I am astounded that people on the Finextra forum are still surprised at big banks closing branches. We've known for close to a decade that this was coming, and that customers just aren't using branches like they used to. Sure the #Brexit thing is an excuse, but until the market starts rewarding banks for branch closures by an improvement in their share price, then banks like Lloyds will very carefully position their branch rationalization.

For the ANON Finextra member that says this is all about community and Lloyds are letting their customers down, I simply say - if customers were using those branches they wouldn't be getting closed! People don't use branches anymore, we're all going digital because it's faster, simpler and requires much less effort. Now that digital experiences are an improvement on the branch, then there's simply no reason for people to visit, and simply no reason for banks to keep them. 

I welcome this move - it's the only way banks like Lloyds will survive.

BK 

Robin Setty
Robin Setty - ACI Worldwide (EMEA) Limited - Watford 29 July, 2016, 09:161 like 1 like

Totally in agreement with you @Brett.  The online experience we get now is far better than queuing in wood-panelled branches to pay in a cheque, before 3pm on a Friday afternoon ever was!

And whilst I do recognise that care is required to avoid marginalising members of society who truly can't work the mobile/online channels, I think the generalisation that "the elderly need physical branches' is a lazy one.  My mum's in her mid-seventies, is certainly not techno-savvy but is perfectly at ease with her banking app and is as unlikely to visit a branch as I am.

Melvin Haskins
Melvin Haskins - Haston International Limited - 29 July, 2016, 09:432 likes 2 likes

My comment regarding Lloyds using Brexit as an excuse still stands. I have no doubt that they need to close branches to survive, but they should be honest about the reason.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 29 July, 2016, 10:40Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Some interesting responses and shows the sad society that we live in that only think about themselves.  I'm sure that in New York and Watford you have plenty of places where you can get money and do other things you can't online.  Despite being 84 and disabled, I'm quite internet savvy and do most thinsg online, which is a blessing that the modern age has given people like me.  However, living in a small town, which is likely to lose it's last remaining bank there are still some things that I can't do online - like get cash. 

I completely understand the economics, I doubt whether my local bracnh gets more than 30 customers a day, however I do agree with the first point on here the Lloyds should not pretend to put Customers First.

Robin Setty
Robin Setty - ACI Worldwide (EMEA) Limited - Watford 29 July, 2016, 11:00Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

...which is why I said that "care was required to avoid marginalising members of society who truly can't work the mobile/online channel".  But this shouldn't mean that all the major banks need branches in each high street - especially when they are being 'challenged' by others that don't need to make that commitment.  Maybe it's where the Post Office could come into play?

Stanley Epstein
Stanley Epstein - Citadel Advantage Ltd - Modiin 30 July, 2016, 06:34Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Lloyds decision was on the cards and has been public knowledge for a long time now. To drag Brexit into it as the reason is despicable. Reading the comments however has triggered my own gripe. Why is it automatically assumed just because a person is ‘older’ they are illiterate when it comes to technology? Today’s 70-year olds were still in their 30s and 40s when what we today call the ‘fintech’ revolution really began with things like the ATM. In those days we heard the same rubbish about ‘older’ customers wanting those hand written ‘savings-bank passbooks’ because plastic cards were just too much to handle! We 70 and 80 year olds have matured with the technology and my generation is pretty comfortable with it.

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 30 July, 2016, 19:59Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I just finished reading this McKinsey article: More than digital plus traditional: A truly omnichannel customer experience. Old or new "Without question, (customers) are (demanding digital). But not to the exclusion of other channels, which remain critically important." "as much attention (and fear) as Amazon may generate among traditional retailers, as of early 2016 about 92 percent of retail sales in the United States—the company’s home and largest market—were still taking place in person." For mortgage application as an example, "only branch channel retains significant percentage of customers throughout process". It totally resonates with what I said in Secret Of Survival Of Bank Branches: Branch serves mainly demand generation and sales. If Lloyds Bank has reached a stage where its market is saturated or it otherwise doesn't want to sell too many new products, then it has very limited need of branches and closing them is the way to go. But if that's not the case and Lloyds Bank expects that, just as a customer prefers to check balances on mobile, they will also buy a new product on a digital channel, it may be in for a rude shock by shutting down banks.

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