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LLOYDS Banking Group was accused of walking away from local communities today after it announced the closure of 44 branches in England and Wales.
Trade union Unite said that the decision was a bitter blow to staff and customers after the bank announced that 29 Lloyds and 15 Halifax branches would close.
The bank said that the decision was made because customers were carrying out significantly fewer transactions at these locations.
Unite national officer Caren Evans said: “The decision by Lloyds to further erode its presence within our communities is baffling.
“The closure of 44 more bank branches will deny our communities essential services such as access to cash and experienced, highly trained staff.
“A local ATM is not a suitable alternative to a staffed bank branch.
“In recent times Lloyds has spent significant resource to sell its message of ‘Helping Britain Recover’.
“Unite seriously questions how this decision to walk away from local communities promotes this message at a time when the customers will rely on financial services sector support more than ever.”
He said that the union does not view the bank branch network as a disposable commodity and wants Lloyds Banking Group to commit to a meaningful presence in our communities.
Lloyds said that more than a third of the closures are branches situated in or around cities and large towns with another branch “very close by.”
It added that transactions across all branches fell by 10 per cent per year in the five years to March 2020, and significantly further in the year since.
Nine out of 10 customers have a branch within five miles of their home, it said.
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