Wednesday 29 June 2016 2:26 pm

Lloyds Banking Group to cut 640 jobs and close 23 branches

Lloyds Banking Group is planning to cut around 640 jobs and close 23 branches as it moves to reduces its presence across the UK.

The firm said it would make 525 net role reductions – it plans to create 115 new roles – within its retail and group operations. Lloyds also confirmed that it will close 23 branches during October 2016.

“Branches will continue to play an important role in our multi-channel approach to meeting customer needs and we expect to continue to have the biggest branch network in the UK," the company said in a statement.

“Lloyds Banking Group is committed to working through these changes with employees in a careful and sensitive way. All affected employees have been briefed by their line manager today. Accord and Unite were consulted prior to this announcement and will continue to be consulted.

The bank said its policy is "always to use natural turnover and to redeploy people wherever possible to retain their expertise and knowledge within the group".

"Where it is necessary for employees to leave the company, it will look to achieve this by offering voluntary redundancy. Compulsory redundancies will always be a last resort," the statement concluded.

"The continuation of the bank's major job loss program will bring disappointment as staff feel they have already faced two years of endless workforce cuts," said Rob MacGregor, national officer at the Unite union.

Earlier this year, Lloyds revealed plans to axe 1,775 jobs and close 29 branches. The group subsequently said it would be making 625 further redundancies while creating 195 new roles. This followed on from the bank's announcement last November that it would be cutting 1,000 jobs, with the ultimate target of reducing the size of its workforce by 10 per cent.

Lloyds was bailed out by the government with a £10bn lifeline handed over during 2008 and 2009. The government has since recouped around half of that amount with a gradual sell-off of shares in the bank.