Lloyds Banking Group today announced said it plans to shut 60 branches across the country, adding to recent closures as customers choose to sort their finances online

Lloyds Banking Group today announced said it plans to shut 60 branches across the country, adding to recent closures as customers choose to sort their finances online.

The lending giant said it would close 24 Lloyds branches, as well as 19 Bank of Scotland and 17 Halifax sites.

The branches are thought to employ 124 people, but Lloyds said it would try to find affected staff new roles within the company.

The bank said it had seen a 27% rise in use of its mobile banking app over the last two years, and a 12% rise in regular users of its online banking system.

Now 18.6 million people regularly bank online and 15 million use the mobile app. 

It comes after recent figures showed Britain has lost nearly 5,000 High Street banks in a decade, sparking fears that the elderly, vulnerable and those living in rural areas are effectively being ‘cut adrift’ from face-to-face banking.

Campaigners and charities for the elderly say decisions to close village and town centre banks is proving ‘extremely damaging’ for local communities and a ‘serious blow’ for millions of older Britons.  

Lloyds Banking Group has said it will close 60 bank branches, comprising of 24 Lloyds Bank, 19 Bank of Scotland and 17 Halifax sites across the UK

The biggest decline in terms of branches in the Big Six banks meanwhile has been at Barclays.Once the largest bank in Britain in terms of the number of branches, it shut nearly 800 branches between 2014 and 2022. It now has less than Lloyds and a similar level to Natwest

England has seen the biggest decline – of around 4,000 banks -while Scotland and Wales have all seen small decreases.Northern Ireland has lost 10 bank branches in the last 10 years, a three per cent decline

The biggest decline, according to that same report, has been in the south west of England, where the number of banks fell by 40 per cent from 2012 to 2021.Behind the south west was the north west (-38 per cent), Wales (-36 per cent) and Yorkshire and Humberside (36 per cent). London was in line with the UK average of -36 per cent, while Northern Ireland (-3 per cent), the north east (-23 per cent) and the west Midlands (-33 per cent) saw the smallest declines

London meanwhile has 1.6 banks for every 10,000 people, while Scotland and Wales both had 1.4 banks per 10,000 people – above the UK average of 1.3.The east Midlands had the lowest bank-to-person density, with just 1.1 banks per 10,000 people, followed by the east of England, Yorkshire, the west Midlands and the north west, which had 1.2 banks per 10,000 people

‘Just like many other high street businesses, fewer customers are choosing to visit our branches,’ the business’s group retail director Vim Maru said.

‘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 bank said that customers were continuing to choose online and mobile banking more frequently than using a branch.

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

Caren Evans, national officer for the union Unite, 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.Unite is clear that simply leaving an ATM in place of a vibrant bank branch is wholly insufficient.

‘The banking sector needs to answer some serious questions about its corporate social responsibilities and the Government cannot stand back and allow the relentless closure of banks to continue until no more local banking services remain.’

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.

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