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Lloyds axes mobile bank branches as lender shifts services online

Lloyds has confirmed it is axing its mobile banking vans - just days after it announced plans to cut 1,600 jobs as it increasingly shifts services online.

The banking giant said visits to the branches had fallen by 90% since 2018, with as few as two people regularly using the service in some locations.

The fleet of vans visit more than 120 towns and villages at least once a month, providing cash and cheque services, account enquiries and other help for people who are not able to easily visit a high street branch.

The banking group said it has already been in the process of informing Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland staff, as well as customers, about the closures, which will happen in May.

A spokeswoman said Lloyds would introduce 32 more "community bankers" to provide face-to-face help, including account enquiries and online banking support, in some community hubs where the mobile vans will no longer visit.

Lloyds announced last week it was cutting about 1,600 jobs as it turns its focus increasingly towards online services.

However, 830 new roles will be created as part of the shake-up, resulting in a net reduction of 769 jobs.

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Many British banking brands have announced physical branch closures in recent months and years, as firms look to cut costs - and while customers increasingly turn to apps and websites to manage their finances.

However critics have warned the trend risks alienating those who do not have easy access to the internet or who lack confidence using digital services.

Age UK warned in a report last year that the rise of digital banking, cashless transactions and the closure of branches risked some people being "cut adrift from society".

Lloyds was criticised last year for shutting a branch in the UK's smallest city - prompting calls for it to send one of its mobile banking vans to the area as an alternative.

But the company said just 8% of its customers now use high street branches as the sole way of managing their money, and said consumers also had the alternative of using Post Office branches or phone banking to access some of its services.

An average of 14 customers regularly use a mobile banking van, Lloyds said.

A spokeswoman told Sky News that mobile branch staff were offered other roles in the company in November 2023, but it was "too soon to say" how many would stay on as a result of the more recent job cut announcement.