Hundreds of Lloyds Banking Group job losses are threatened in Scotland after the bank yesterday announced that a further 3,000 staff are to go and 200 additional branches shut UK-wide by the end of next year.
The bank, whose subsidiaries include Bank of Scotland, blamed the growing trend for customers to access accounts and other services by computer and mobile phone apps.
Lloyds group chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio said the further jobs bloodletting was a “tough decision”, but that 12 million of its customers were accessing the bank digitally, and seven million were using mobile apps.
“If our customers are using our branches less and digital more we have to adapt,” he said. Lloyds said the latest costcutting moves would save the bank £400 million by end-2017, taking the total number of efficiency gains since 2014 up to £1.4 billion.
The announcement came as the bank revealed that it had doubled its pre-tax profits to £2.5bn in the first six months of 2016, but that the Brexit vote last month had created a more “uncertain” UK economic climate where “a deceleration of growth looks likely”.
George Culmer, the bank’s chief finance officer, said of the latest redundancy programme: “The branch closures will impact frontline staff, but we will look to redeploy.” He said there were also likely to be back-office layoffs.
Lloyds said that as part of its latest efficiency drive 12,000 jobs will have been lost at the bank since 2014 by the end of 2017, with the latest branch closures coming on top of another 200 sites already earmarked to put the shutters up.
The bank, which is still 9 per cent-owned by the public since its £20bn taxpayer lifeline in 2008, gave no detailed breakdown of where the latest job cuts and branch closures would fall.
But Lloyds employs around 16,000 in Scotland, one fifth of its overall UK workforce. Bank of Scotland also has the country’s largest network of high-street bank branches with 271, including mobile branches in rural areas of Scotland.
Rob MacGregor, national officer at Unite, warned against “cutting too far too fast” and said that the union would do everything in its power to oppose the cuts.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady urged the government to act now to secure jobs and investment before “thousands of working people pay the price of Brexit with the loss of their job”.
Mr Horta-Osorio said the Brexit vote had created economic uncertainty, and interest rates were likely to be “lower for longer”.