Economy Lloyds Banking Group to axe 305 jobs and 49 more branches in...

Lloyds Banking Group to axe 305 jobs and 49 more branches in Britain

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File-A woman walks past a row of cash machines outside a branch of Lloyds Bank in Manchester, Britain, February 21, 2017.

Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) will cut 305 jobs and close 49 branches in Britain, the latest in a series of reductions to its workforce and network as it promotes its digital services.

Lloyds said in February it would invest 3 billion pounds over three years in such digital initiatives, but had not said how many branches or jobs it would axe as part of the cost-cutting strategy.

Lloyds said the plan reflected changes in customer behavior, with more people using digital services than branches, which are costly to maintain.

“Today’s announcement involves making difficult decisions, and we are committed to working through these changes in a careful and sensitive way,” the bank said in a statement on Tuesday regarding the job losses and closures.

The bank said it remained committed to having the largest branch network among banks in Britain, where it operates around one in every five outlets.

The latest job losses at Britain’s biggest bank follow an announcement in February that Lloyds cut 465 roles in January.

Banks in Britain have between them slashed thousands of branches in recent years to cut costs, drawing criticism from lawmakers who say closures can leave rural communities without a single bank branch.

Politicians in June 2016 called the closures a “quiet scandal”, citing a Reuters report showing the closures disproportionately affected poorer areas in Britain.

Banks are nonetheless pressing ahead with further cuts, focusing efforts on getting customers to use mobile apps to do the bulk of their transactions and save branch visits for the most complex of their needs.

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