Lloyds announces 150 branch closures

<p>Lloyds Banking Group is closing 150 branches over the next three years, resulting in 9,000 jobs losses.</p>

Lloyds Banking Group is closing 150 branches across the UK over the next three years, the bank has confirmed.

In its interim management statement of the third quarter of the year, the bank said that it would be moving away from its pledge to keep open "the last branch in town" and will now focus on urban branch closures first. The latest round of closures will result in the loss of 9,000 jobs, representing a ten per cent reduction of its workforce.

Lloyds has been reducing its workforce since the financial crash of 2008 and has made 43,000 cuts in the past six years alone. Its latest decision comes as it sets aside £900 million to cover possible payout for its role in the PPI mis-selling scandal.

It was also hit with a £218 million fine earlier in the year for "serious misconduct" for the Libor rigging scandal. The bank received a boost recently after the European Banking Authority confirmed that it, along with other British financial centres such as Barclays, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland, had passed its "stress test" of its finances.

Despite the fines and the need to reduce its workforce, the bank said that it was performing well. Lloyds, which also owns Halifax and Bank of Scotland, reported pre-tax profits of £1.61 billion for the nine months to September 30th.

Antonio Horta-Osorio, Lloyds' chief executive, said in a statement: "The group is performing strongly. We have met or exceeded the strategic objectives set out in 2011 and are ready to move on to the next stage in our development."

Lloyds explained that one of the driving forces behind its decision to make the latest round of cuts was due to customers switching to mobile banking. In response, the bank has committed significant investment towards this technology setting aside £1 billion to be used over the coming months.

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