April 5, 2017 / 11:19 AM / 4 months ago

Lloyds Banking Group to close 100 branches and cut over 325 jobs

People walk past a branch of Lloyds Bank on Oxford Street in London, Britain July 28, 2016.Peter Nicholls/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) plans to close a further 100 branches resulting in the loss of over 325 jobs, the bank said on Wednesday, as part of a strategy to reduce costs.

Britain's biggest mortgage lender said the branch cuts were part of 200 closures announced last July, and the move was in response to changing customer behavior toward making more online transactions.

The Lloyds group has more than 2,000 branches across the United Kingdom, and approximately 75,000 employees, according to its website.

The trade union Unite condemned the closures, which it said would affect 54 Lloyds branches, 22 Halifax branches and 24 Bank of Scotland branches.

"The continuous stream of branch closures announced by the UK's retail bank branches appears to show no signs of ending," said Rob MacGregor, Unite national officer.

Lloyds earlier this week announced it would reduce some branches to just two staff with tablet computers, in response to fewer customers visiting high street sites and increasingly banking online.

The new smaller branches will not have counters, with customers paying in cash and cheques through self-service machines and talking to mortgage advisers through video links.

This comes as Lloyds is poised to pass a significant milestone in its recovery from the financial crisis after the government sold more shares in the lender this week and the bank expected to return to private hands next month.

A report by lawmakers last month warned Britain's poor and vulnerable people were hardest hit by bank branch closures, echoing a report by Reuters last June that showed banks were disproportionately closing branches in the lowest-income areas while expanding in wealthier ones.

Reporting by Andrew MacAskill and Lawrence White; Editing by Mark Potter

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