'Flabbergasted' unions fear more job losses as Lloyds and HSBC swing axe

MORE banking jobs in Scotland are under threat after Lloyds and HSBC both announced a new major round of redundancies.

Lloyds Banking Group said it will lose 15,000 staff by 2014 as part of new chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio's strategic review, while HSBC said it will cut 700 roles.

The news left unions "flabbergasted" and has raised fears of further job losses in Scotland, particularly at the Lloyds group where 2,500 jobs north of the Border have gone since the forced merger with Halifax Bank of Scotland.

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Sources at the bank have suggested that senior managers in the insurance division at The Mound, in Edinburgh, could be a target for cuts while technology staff could also lose out with the bank planning to "materially reduce the number of IT applications".

It is understood that no Lloyds branches will be closed, including the 285 in Scotland.

But the Portuguese chief executive Mr Horta-Osorio, who took up the top post in March replacing Eric Daniels, was unrepentant and insisted the cuts had to be made for the good of the bank and UK economy.

The latest cull at Lloyds, which owns brands including Bank of Scotland, Halifax and Scottish Widows, will bring total job losses at the 41 per cent state-owned bank to nearly 45,000 since it was formed in 2009 when Lloyds TSB and HBOS merged.

Mr Horta-Osorio pledged to create a more "agile" organisation, with the majority of job cuts in middle management and back office roles.

David Fleming, Unite national officer, said the Lloyds review will cause "deep distress and anxiety". He said: "Astonishingly one in eight roles will be lost over the next three years. This review is merely another box-ticking exercise to give this bank - which has already, since its creation two years ago, cut over 27,000 staff - an excuse to sack more employees."

Mr Horta-Osorio said: "It's important to note that these are roles not people. We have a strong record of minimising redundancies."

He pledged to revitalise the Halifax brand and will keep the Scottish Widows insurance arm.

HSBC said that within the 700 job losses, about 460 staff in the financial advice team in the retail banking and wealth management division will be affected.