Lloyds Banking Group has announced plans to reduce the size and functionality of some of its branches.
The banking giant plans to downsize many existing units into “micro branches”. These will have reduced facilities and be operated with minimal staffing – with as few as two members of staff in some instances.
Lloyds says the number of people wishing to use its branches is falling. The changes will affect its Bank of Scotland, Halifax and Lloyds Bank brands.
It was unable to confirm exactly how many branches would be downsized but says the “majority” of its network will offer “comparable” services to what they do today.
Other changes will see more focus given to large branches located in major city centres. For complex transactions customers may need to visit these larger branches once their local bank has been downsized.
Lloyds also plans to increase the number of mobile branches between now and the end of 2017.
Campaigners such as Moneywise columnist Jeff Prestridge have warned that such changes make it more difficult for consumers to access their accounts, particularly the old and disabled. Lloyds argues that it is responding to changes in demand with greater use of online banking and smartphone apps.
A spokesperson for Lloyds Banking Group says: “Branches are a vital part of our strategy, and we’re investing in our network to make sure it’s right for the future.
“We’re transforming branches, responding to customers and giving them choice, including new flagship branches in city centre locations, and introducing some smaller micro-formats alongside our community and mobile branches.”