Unions fear 400 High Street bank branches set to close

Unions are preparing for up to one in ten bank branches to close as they enter talks with the Big Four lenders. 

Sources said Lloyds, HSBC, Barclays and NatWest are discussing plans to shut up to 400 of their remaining 3,923 branches after profits were crushed by the pandemic. 

It is understood banks have yet to reach any firm decisions on closures. Bosses will talk to affected staff members and consult with local communities before shutting a branch. 

Shutting up shop: The Government may face pressure to halt large-scale branch closures that might prevent the elderly in particular from accessing their money

Shutting up shop: The Government may face pressure to halt large-scale branch closures that might prevent the elderly in particular from accessing their money

Shutting up shop: The Government may face pressure to halt large-scale branch closures that might prevent the elderly in particular from accessing their money

Unions are hopeful that many staff will be redeployed. Bosses have been impressed by how quickly staff have adapted to new roles, as the banks were swamped with phone calls at the start of lockdown. 

Lloyds has deployed 1,000 branch staff to help customers who risk falling into debt as the salary furlough scheme ends. 

But the Government may face pressure to halt large-scale branch closures that might prevent the elderly in particular from accessing their money. 

One source said banks were motivated to close sites fast as they did not want to be the one to controversially close the ‘last branch in town’. 

The crisis has seen banks battered by rising bad debts and rock-bottom interest rates. 

Lloyds has warned staff their bonuses could be hit this year. 

Barclays said: ‘We are carefully reducing the number of underused branches while investing in services we provide customers.’ 

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