LLOYDS is expected to axe hundreds of jobs across Yorkshire as part of a cull of 3,000 workers and 200 branches as it prepares itself for uncertain times following Britain’s decision to quit the European Union.
It is not yet clear where the axe will fall, but the group said it expects to close branches across its portfolio, which includes the Halifax, Lloyds and Bank of Scotland.
Halifax boss Russell Galley said there will be redundancies in Yorkshire, but said it was too early to say how many will lose their jobs.
Lloyds Banking Group employs 12,500 people in Yorkshire, 16 per cent of its overall headcount of 80,000.
Lloyds’ chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio said: “Following the EU referendum the outlook for the UK economy is uncertain and, while the precise impact is dependent upon a number of factors including EU negotiations and political and economic events, a deceleration of growth seems likely.
“The UK, however, enters this period of uncertainty from a position of strength, following continued private sector deleveraging, significantly improved mortgage affordability and low levels of unemployment.”
The bank said a cost-cutting programme announced in 2014 will be extended and the “expected lower-for-longer interest rate environment” will see the new cuts come into effect by the end of 2017.
Mr Galley said: “I couldn’t give you an actual figure for Yorkshire job losses. Yorkshire and Humber is a key centre.”
Asked whether Yorkshire will be affected by the redundancy programme, he said: “I think it’s safe to assume it will be.”
The total number of jobs cut since the announcement of an efficiency drive in 2014 will stand at 12,000 by the end of next year. The latest 200 branch closures come on top of another 200 already earmarked for closure.
Britain’s largest retail bank aims to save £400m by the end of 2017 to protect its profits and dividends against the effects of lower-for-longer interest rates.
Lloyds, rescued in a £20.5bn taxpayer bail-out during the financial crisis, is the first major British bank to report results since the referendum and is the most exposed to any downturn in the British economy.
So far this year, Lloyds has already said it would cut about 4,000 positions from its 80,000-strong workforce and has closed nearly 100 branches this year. The bank also said it would look to streamline its non-branch property portfolio by around 30 per cent by the end of 2018.
Britain’s vote to leave the EU came at the end of the bank’s first half, so the likely impact on lending volumes will not become clear until the third quarter.
The Bank of England is widely expected to cut interest rates from 0.5 per cent to 0.25 per cent next week as the fallout from the Brexit vote intensifies.
Lloyds is targeting £1.4bn in cost savings by the end of next year.
Rob MacGregor, national officer at union Unite, said: “There is a real danger that customer service will suffer and access to banking for numerous communities will be damaged because of this latest round of savage cuts.”
The bank made the announcement alongside results for the first half of the year, which saw statutory profits more than double to £2.5bn, but the lender warned that Brexit could have an adverse impact on its future performance.
A rise in troubled loans by almost a third to £254m took the shine off the profits.