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Lloyds Banking Group and Direct Line announce hundreds of UK job cuts

Ben Chapman
Reuters

Lloyds Banking Group and Direct Line have both announced they will cut hundreds of jobs in the UK.

Insurer Direct Line is preparing to axe around 800 staff while Lloyds will cut 780 full-time branch positions, the two companies separately announced on Wednesday.

Lloyds has slashed more than 10,000 jobs since the government sold its stake in the bailed out bank in 2017. The latest redundancies will affect staff at Halifax and Bank of Scotland which are both part of Lloyds Banking Group.

Direct Line, which owns Green Flag and Churchill, said its cuts will affect around 7 per cent of its UK employees.

A spokesperson for the insurance firm said: “Like many companies we are having to prepare for changes in the way we operate reflecting changing customer behaviour where people are increasingly opting to interact with us digitally.”

“We are therefore proposing a number of changes across the business which sadly mean the loss of jobs for some of our people.”

Lloyds’ job cuts will happen between July and October, according to the Unite union. The move comes weeks after the high street lender announced plans to sit 56 branches. On Tuesday, HSBC said it would cut 27 branches, blaming changing banking habits.

Unite said Lloyds’ latest jobs cull is “more evidence of the bank’s ‘profits over people’ culture”.

Scott Doyle, Unite’s Lloyds Banking Group committee chairman, said: “The Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Halifax branches hit by the extensive staff cuts today will have sent shockwaves through the communities which are at present served by highly experienced bank staff.”

He added: “Unite has pressed Lloyds to reconsider these job cuts and ensure that the bank remains rooted in the communities on which they depend for their long-term sustainability.

“There is no doubt that customers need experienced and highly committed banking staff in their communities and not just at the end of the phone or via an app.”

“Unite has pressed LBG to reconsider these job cuts and ensure that the bank remains rooted in the communities on which they depend for their long-term sustainability.

Lloyds said the job losses came as a result of the widespread switch among customers to online banking.

A spokesperson for the bank said: “As customers are using our branches less often, we are reducing the number of roles across our branch network.

“This means we can shape our service according to customer behaviour and local demand.

“Change does mean difficult decisions and we are focused on supporting our colleagues at this time.”

Last week Lloyds lowered two key targets of profitability for 2020 after taking a £2.5bn hit from the payment protection insurance (PPI) scandal.

The bank’s annual report revealed that chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio took a 28 per cent pay cut, now taking home £4.7m, as a result of a steep drop in annual profits. Pre-tax profits slumped by 26 per cent to £4.4bn for 2019.

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