Lloyds accused of trying to bury bad news as it closes 66 banks

Lloyds accused of trying to bury bad news as it closes another 66 bank branches

  •  Some towns will lose their last surviving bank, as another 66 close next year
  •  Lloyds axed 150 branches this year taking the total branch closures to over 400
  •  Lloyds said visits to the 66 banks had fallen by 60 per cent over five years 
  • Derek French said bosses are ‘falling over themselves’ to shut high street banks

Lloyds Bank has been accused of trying to bury bad news after confirming the closure of another 66 branches on the day that Britain was distracted by the heatwave and the Tory leadership battle.

The move, quietly revealed on Wednesday without a formal announcement as is customary, will see dozens of closures by next year, with some towns and villages losing their last surviving bank.

It means Lloyds has so far this year announced plans to axe 150 branches across its three retail brands – Bank of Scotland, Halifax and Lloyds – and takes the total number of branch closures across the big banking institutions this year to more than 400. Some experts believe that number will double by the end of the year.

AXED: Lloyds has now announced the closure of 150 branches this year

According to the consumer group Which?, more than 50 bank branches a month have been given the chop since the start of 2015.

Derek French, who campaigns for shared banking hubs that all customers can use, claimed bosses are ‘falling over themselves’ to shut high street outlets before the introduction of new regulations designed to protect access to cash.

A new bill, published last week, is likely to pave the way for the Financial Conduct Authority regulator to oversee branch closures and intervene where it believes access to cash is threatened.

Defending its latest closures, Lloyds said visits to the 66 branches – comprising 48 Lloyds and 18 Halifax outlets – had fallen on average by 60 per cent over the past five years. It insisted all affected customers will have access to a nearby free-to-use cash machine or local post offices, and that there would be no compulsory or voluntary redundancies among its employees who will be moved to another branch or part of its business.

Russell Galley, director of consumer relationships at Lloyds, said: ‘Alongside our digital, online and telephone services, we’ll continue to invest in our branches, but they need to be in the right places where they are well used.’

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