Another 40 bank branches will be lost from the UK’s high streets after Lloyds and Halifax announced yet more closures.
Lloyds Banking Group is to close 18 Halifax sites and 22 Lloyds branches between April and June this year, with all but one of the closures being in England.
The new closures will bring the total number of Lloyds outlets in the country to 693, and Halifax branches to 518.
The group said the branches selected for closure have seen visits drop by about 60 per cent on average in the last five years.
The move is yet another hammer blow for Britain’s beleaguered high streets, with banks and building societies having closed or planning to close more than 5,000 branches since January 2015, at a rate of 54 each month on average.
Britons are also continuing to grapple with a cost of living crisis brought on by sky-high energy prices and an inflation spiral that is only just starting to abate.
Responding to the announcement, Age UK’s charity director Caroline Abrahams said elderly customers risk being ‘cut adrift’ from banking services and banks should be doing ‘everything they can’ to ensure ‘essential’ services continue to be provided.
And Tory MP Alexander Stafford branded the move an ‘absolute disgrace’, saying Lloyds has a ‘duty of care’ to local communities.
The number of people using in-person services at banks has been falling for years as more and more turn to online banking.
This increased during the pandemic as those who relied on bank branches were forced to learn how to bank from home.
But branches are still vital for the vulnerable, elderly and anyone needing face-to-face advice.
The South East has seen the biggest drop in branches since 2015, with 704 having been shuttered before the latest announcement.
Barclays has closed 149 outlets in the region, with 114 Natwest branches and 129 Lloyds outlets also gone – before the further closures by Lloyds announced today.
Scotland was the first part of the UK to see more than half its banks close, according to consumer rights group Which?.
Royal Bank of Scotland has closed 160 branches in Scotland since 2015, and Bank of Scotland has shut 128. The latest announcement brings the total number of bank branch closures to 64 this year.