Lloyds Banking Group has followed up the closure of 48 branches in October last year with 60 more, as customers continue to move to digital services.
This follows an HSBC announcement just a week ago, when it said 69 branches would be shuttered, affecting the roles of 400 staff.
Lloyds and HSBC both cited the migration of customers to digital channels as the reason for the closures.
Following the latest announcement, Vim Maru, retail director for Lloyds Banking Group, 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.”
Lloyds said the number of regular online banking customers has increased to over 18 million and it now has 15 million customers using its mobile app, which is up 27% compared with this time last year.
This is part of an industry-wide trend. Earlier this month, Jackie Uhi, head of HSBC UK’s branch network, said: “The majority of our customers have a preference to do much of their day-to-day banking online or via mobile, so we’re removing locations where we have another branch nearby, and where there is a significant reduction in customers using face-to-face branch servicing.”
But Caren Evans, national officer at the Unite union, said 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,” she said.
In December 2021, consumer rights champion Which? called for a pause in bank branch closures amid fears that people could be left without easy access to cash and services.
Figures released by the consumer rights organisation at the time revealed that since the beginning of 2015, banks and building societies had closed or scheduled the closure of 4,734 branches in the UK.