Lloyds Banking Group is to take the axe to a further 44 bank branches, citing a shift in customer behaviour to online banking during the pandemic.
Under the latest restructuring plans, 29 Lloyds Bank branches and 15 Halifax outlets in England and Wales will pull up the shutters over the next 12 months. It comes just seven months after the lender moved to close 56 branches across its network under a phased reduction programme.
Vim Maru, retail director for Lloyds Banking Group, says: "Over the past five years, we’ve seen customers carry out significantly fewer transactions at these locations.
"Like many businesses on the high street, we must change for a future where branches will be used in a different way, and visited less often."
Labour union Unite described the decision as a bitter blow for customers, staff and local communities.
Unite national officer, Caren Evans said: “The decision by Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) to further erode its presence within our communities is baffling. A local ATM is not a suitable alternative to a staffed bank branch.
“In recent times LBG has spent significant resource to sell its message of ‘Helping Britain Recover’. Unite seriously question how this decision to walk away from local communities promotes this message at a time when the customers will rely on the financial services sector support more than ever."
The bank has given Unite a commitment that the majority of impacted staff will be redeployed with some voluntary redundancies.