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More than 80 Lloyds, Halifax and Natwest branches to shut

  • 29/03/2023
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Two of the biggest high street banking brands have earmarked more than 80 branches to close later this year.

In total, Lloyds Banking Group will close 39 branches between July and September. This includes 26 Lloyds Bank, nine Halifax and four Bank of Scotland branches.

It said branch visits have fallen as digital banking has grown, revealing it has 20.2m customers regularly using online banking and 17.1m using banking apps.

It comes hot on the heels of Barclays as it confirmed another 14 branches will close this summer. So far in 2023, more than 200 branches across BarclaysTSBLloyds and HalifaxNatwest, as well as two from Nationwide and one from Virgin Money have been earmarked to close.

Locations where Banking Hubs (noted below) have been recommended will retain their branch for up to 12 months (from 29 March 2023), should the Banking Hub not be up and running by the listed closure date, to allow for a smooth transition of banking services in the community.

Lloyds Banking Group said all of the branch locations announced for closure have a Post Office and “at least one free-to-use ATM nearby”. It added that it will be introducing six Community Bankers to provide banking support in these local communities: Shepton Mallet, Tumble, Eckington, New Mills, Ystradgynlais and Halifax Newmarket.

Once all previously announced closures are complete, Lloyds Banking Group will have 1,238 branches (597 Lloyds, 480 Halifax, 161 Bank of Scotland).

Affected staff will be moved to other branches or other parts of the business so there will not be any job losses.

A Lloyds Banking Group spokesperson, said: “Our customers are increasingly using digital channels to manage their money – we now have over 20 million regular digital users so it’s important we continue to develop the online services our customers want to use. Our branches will continue to be an option for our customers, alongside our telephone services, mobile app and online bank.”

Meanwhile, Natwest Group – which includes RBS – has confirmed 42 bank branch closures.

A Natwest spokesperson, said: “As with many industries, most of our customers are shifting to mobile and online banking, because it’s faster and easier for people to manage their financial lives. “We understand and recognise that digital solutions aren’t right for everyone or every situation, and that when we close branches we have to make sure that no one is left behind.

“We take our responsibility seriously to support the people who face challenges in moving online, so we are investing to provide them with support and alternatives that work for them.”

Banking hubs and alternative ways to access banking services

Banking hubs provide basic banking services including counter services run by the major banks and the Post Office, and dedicated rooms where customers can see community bankers from their own bank for more complicated matters that require specialist knowledge or privacy.

A banking hub has been recommended for Downham Market (Norfolk), Shirebrook (Derbyshire), Otley (West Yorkshire), Sidmouth (Devon), Newton Aycliffe (County Durham), Porthcawl (Bridgend), Withernsea (East Yorkshire) and Wellington (Somerset).

Free ATMs have been recommended in Newburn (Newcastle), East Horsley (Surrey) and Ystradgynlais (Powys) as closures in these locations would have meant there would not have been at ATM when the last bank closes. Further, a LINK (ATM network) assessment is underway in New Malden and Dorking. Further, a deposit service recommendation has been made for Knutsford and Stony Stratford.

According to LINK, the ATM network, there are four banking hubs open in Brixham (Devon), Cambuslang (South Lanarkshire), Cottingham (East Ridings of Yorkshire) and Rochford (Essex). Taking into account today’s update, this means there are a further 47 hubs that are being delivered collectively by Cash Access UK.

John Howells, CEO, LINK, said: “The eight banking hubs we have recommended today will become part of the fabric of the high street. Those that have opened so far have had a ringing endorsement from local residents and businesses, and LINK is proud to recommend services for these communities.”

There are an estimated 39,000 free ATMs across the UK and 11,000 Post Offices where customers can access and carry out basic banking services.

Big banks grilled over savings rates, mortgages and branch closures

Just last week, when asked by the Treasury Committee about how many bank branches Lloyds is intending to close in the next two years, CEO, Charlie Nunn, wrote: “We are seeing a large shift in the way people are banking with us. People are increasingly choosing to shop and do their banking online, and we expect these trends will continue in the long-term.

“Branches and face-to-face banking services will remain important to us – we continue to invest in them, alongside telephone banking, online banking and our mobile apps. We review our network on an ongoing basis but we do not set targets for the number of branches.

“Branches we have said will be closing have been used, on average, 60 per cent less than they were five years ago, and it is important we adapt to ongoing changes.”

In the Natwest response letter to the Treasury Committee on branch closures, the CEO revealed use of its digital app has increased 38 per cent since 2019 with 9.3m customers only using mobile and online services. Its mobile vans visit more than 600 communities a week, and it has Community Bankers which also support customers.

Alison Rose wrote: “There are more ways to bank with us than ever with 16,000 points of presence across the UK. Branches are and will continue to be important part of how we support customers. Decisions on branch closures are always difficult, but are shaped by the changing behaviours of consumers. Recently announced changes will take our network to 655 and we will continue to make changes to our network over the coming years to ensure we have sustainable choices in place for our customers through an appropriate balance of in-person

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