Lloyds cuts nearly 4,000 jobs since being privatised

A branch of Lloyd’s bank in the City of London (PA) Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Lloyds Banking Group has announced nearly 4,000 job cuts in the 18 months since the Government sold off its stake in the lender to take it fully private.

The bank’s efficiency and modernisation drive has continued apace since it was taken off the public books in May 2017, with Lloyds saying a business overhaul and reduction of its branch network is essential to ensure it stays relevant amid a digital shift.

It has also meant the announced loss off around 3,899 job on a gross basis, according to numbers compiled by the Press Association.

The figure includes jobs lost to bank branch closures and decisions by Lloyds to outsource workers.

The lender is also set to create a raft of new positions, but not all staff will have the skills required to fill jobs – some of which require digital engineering and design experience.

When balancing out for jobs created, Lloyds has flagged plans to slash 819 positions in the year and half since it was taken fully private in May 2017.

The privatisation came nine years after the Government spent £20.3 billion of taxpayers’ cash to bail it out at the height of the financial crisis.

At its peak, Lloyds was 43% owned by the state.

Just a month after leaving public hands, Lloyds announced it was getting rid of 252 jobs at its Dundee call centre amid a plans for a new site, about 23 miles away in Fife where it planned to base just 230 staff.

In September 2017, Lloyds said it would outsource 1,000 jobs to Diligenta, affecting staff in Edinburgh and Bristol.

By November 2017, the lender announced it was cutting 99 jobs as it was shuttering 49 branches under its Halifax, Bank of Scotland and Lloyds brands.

A shake-up across five of its divisions meant slashing another 465 jobs, with the lion’s share impacting upon commercial banking, the chief information office, risk, community banking, insurance and wealth.

However, 465 jobs were set to be created throughout the business, the company said in February this year.

The biggest blow in the past year came in April when the bank announced the loss of 1,230 jobs under plans to close another 49 branches.

It said 925 new roles were also being made available elsewhere in the business, leaving just 305 jobs lost on a net basis.

A further 405 job losses were flagged in June, but Lloyds stressed its staff base would ultimately only be shrunk by 255 roles as 195 would also be added.

Most recently, another 23 jobs were cut amid 15 bank branch closures in September. A separate cull of 380 jobs was matched with 435 new roles, resulting in a net increase of 55 positions.

Ged Nichols, general secretary for union Accord, said: “We regret any reduction in jobs and opportunities. We work hard with Lloyds Banking Group and Unite to mitigate the impact of organisational changes on our members livelihoods as much as possible.”

He said the wider industry was having to adapt to “rapidly changing” technology that is changing consumer behaviour and creating costly security challenges.

“Add to this the impact of increased competition, regulation and the economic uncertainties created by Brexit. Organisations need to reshape and adapt,” Mr Nichols added.

“Accord and Unite have dealt with job reductions right through since 2008 in as fair a way as possible. Only a tiny minority of redundancies have been compulsory and we regret each one of them.”

The near-4,000 gross job losses in the 18 months following Lloyds’ privatisation compares to 7,335 total job losses and 5,626 net positions lost in the year and a half prior to the Government’s stake sell-off.

A Lloyds Banking Group spokeswoman said: “The group is making its largest ever investment in our colleagues to re-skill them so that it is able to meet customers’ changing needs.

“As we have demonstrated in the past, we will always look to redeploy people wherever possible to retain experience and knowledge within the group.

“And where we have needed to make changes, over 90% of role reductions have been achieved through a combination of redeployment, natural attrition and voluntary redundancy.

“The group’s aggregate employee numbers are reported on a regular basis.”