Unite call for cessation of LBG branch closure programme as bank announces 28 more
Unite in LBG senior reps have called upon Lloyds Banking Group to halt its rapid branch closure programme, citing that the processes in place the connect the branch, telephony and back office environments are so far away from being streamlined that it directly harms customers when they are in their hour of most need.
28 more branches to close
On top of the 60 branch closures announced less than 2 months ago, LBG has today announced plans to close a further 28 branches. Some of these branches are over 10 miles away from their next nearest branch, potentially leaving customers in rural areas more out of pocket when they want to do business with us.
There is a concern that we still have staff telling customers to attend a branch, when we are closing the ones closest to them. When a customer is a victim of fraud, is about to lose their house, or facing certain vulnerabilities, staff in our call centres and back office environments will direct customers to branch, knowing that this is where they can get the best assistance. While this is still happening, we feel it isn't right for the bank to continuously take this valuable resource away from customers in their time of need.
Giving the ever-worsening cost of living crisis, it’s key to acknowledge that our branch colleagues will continue to play a vital role in supporting our customers and local communities. This further blow of 28 branch closures will only make this more difficult.
The bank have announced that the latest closures could see up to 69 full time equivalent jobs lost. The true headcount could be higher than this. Now that we have fewer than half of the staff we did 15 years ago, colleagues left behind will be wondering how much extra work they can take on before they are saturated. The skills and relationships that will be lost if colleagues do leave the bank (the bank will aim to mitigate as many redundancies as possible) will be a sad loss to both the organisation and the local communities.
4,500 bank and building society branches have been cut from our high streets in the last 10 years. When you think of a high street in a local town or village now, the local residents and businesses have nowhere near the amount of choice they used to when it comes to who to do their banking with. We are told that lots more customers are ‘going digital’ but since the pandemic we have only seen the digital divide widen. Latest statistics show that over 1 in 3 of over 65s in the UK are classed as ‘offline’. Not allowing your parents or grandparents to be able to effectively manage their money is completely feckless.
Caren Evans, Unite National Officer said: “The branch closure announcement today that another profit making financial institution is failing to consider the needs of consumers and staff beggars’ belief. This news is another example of a bank choosing to walk away from the communities who need access to banking.
“The actions of Lloyds Banking Group over the last few months are completely inexcusable. The management is letting down customers and their dedicated workforce.
“These closures will leave some customers more than 10 miles from their nearest bank branch. This is a betrayal of some of the most vulnerable, elderly and socially excluded in our communities who need local access to community banking.”