Lloyds Banking Group is upset after announcing the closure of 44 branches across England and Wales.
Unite said the decision was a “bitter blow” to employees and customers, accusing the bank of “abandoning” local communities.
Lloyds said 29 Lloyds Bank and 15 Halifax branches would be closed, adding that customers in those locations were doing “significantly” fewer transactions.
Vim Maru, Retail Director of Lloyds Banking Group, said: “We have also seen our digital banking customers grow by over four million to nearly 18 million in five years, of which 13.6 million are also active app users are.
“That means that, like many shops on Hauptstraße, we have to change for a future in which branches are used differently and visited less often.
“We will continue to invest in our High Street presence as we open a new Bank of Scotland branch in Edinburgh this week, the only bank to be located in the new St. James Quarter.
“It is important that we continue to give our customers the choice of how they do their banking, with branches in addition to telephone banking, online and mobile banking, our video appointment services, our cashback program through local businesses, our participation in the BankHUB industry initiative and 11,500 Post offices where our customers can do banking and access cash. “
Caren Evans, Unite National Representative, said, “Lloyds’ decision to further undermine its presence in our communities is astounding.
“The closure of 44 additional bank branches will deny our communities essential services such as access to cash and experienced, highly qualified employees.
“A local ATM is not a suitable alternative to an occupied bank branch.
“Lloyds has invested significant funds recently to sell its ‘Helping Britain Recover’ message. Unite seriously questions how this decision to move away from the local communities is promoting that message at a time when customers are more dependent than ever on the support of the financial services sector.
“Unite does not view the bank branch network as a throw away product and the union believes that the branch network has value that is beyond its immediate commercial value. Unite wants Lloyds Banking Group to invest in the branch network and commit to a meaningful presence in our communities. “
Lloyds said of the closings announced on Wednesday that more than a third of its stores are in or around cities and major cities, with another store “very close by”.
It added that transactions in the group’s branches declined 10% annually for the five years to March 2020 and significantly decreased in the year after.
Nine out of ten customers have a branch within eight kilometers of their home, it was said.
Full list of Lloyds bank closings
London Regent Street
Brighton Preston Circus
City of Kent
Cheltenham Bath Road
Full list of Halifax closures
Manchester Cross St
Chesterfield Cent Pav