November 29, 2017 / 12:08 PM / a year ago

Lloyds to cut 49 branches, adding to record closures across Britain

LONDON (Reuters) - Lloyds Banking Group is closing 49 branches of Lloyds Bank and Halifax Bank of Scotland citing more customers banking online, it said on Wednesday.

A man walks past a branch of Lloyds bank in central London February 13, 2014. REUTERS/Paul Hackett

The closures at Britain’s biggest mortgage lender follow 100 announced in April involving 325 job cuts.

They will involve 99 job losses, the Unite workers union said.

Earlier this year Lloyds also announced plans to reduce some branches to just two staff with tablet computers. It has more than 2,000 branches across the UK and employs approximately 75,000.

The bank said that while branches remain a key part of the service, footfall has declined in recent years.

“Customers are increasingly choosing to use digital and mobile channels for their everyday banking needs,” a spokesman said.

Banks across Britain are set to close a record 762 branches this year, Reuters reported in August, moves which have been met with criticism for depriving customers of access to in-person services.

“The news today will not be welcomed by staff or the customers left with no access to local banking,” said Rob MacGregor, national officer at Unite.

Lloyds shares fell on Tuesday after the Bank of England’s stress tests, an annual health check on lenders. Lloyds passed the test but shares in Lloyds, one of the banks most exposed to the UK economy, suffered after the central bank warned that a hard Brexit could be costly.

The shares rebounded on Wednesday and stood up 3.29 percent at 1309 GMT.

Reporting by Emma Rumney; editing by Huw Jones and Jason Neely

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