Lloyds brings in the machines with plan for mini-banks
LLOYDS is looking at setting up a range of mini-branches across London with fewer staff and more machines, City A.M. understands.
The aim is to plugs gaps in the bank’s coverage across the capital, while keeping costs low.
It marks a new stage in the banking sector’s plans to cope as branches receive fewer visits but customers still value a high street presence – the idea of opening new stores runs radically counter to the previous trend of closing branches.
In particular the costs must be kept down because areas with fewer branches also tend to be those with poorer customers and low numbers of businesses, making it harder to turn a profit on the branch.
It follows Barclays’ announcement it will open branches in Asda stores as it cuts back on traditional branches, and will be accompanied by a revamp of all the Lloyds Group brands’ mobile apps. Most of the bank’s online hits now come through mobile devices.
“In February 2012 we committed to keeping the same number of branches on a net basis over three years. We also committed not to close a branch if we are the last one in a community,” said a spokesman. “We will provide an update to next steps in due course. Currently, no decisions have been made.”
Meanwhile Lloyds is thought to be considering its options with £7.5bn of enhanced capital notes. Issued in the crisis, Lloyds thought the notes would bolster its capital position.
But regulators are likely to rule against them, meaning it can either buy them back or swap them into coco bonds that meet the criteria.