February 24, 2024

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Lloyds digital shift puts thousands of jobs at risk

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More than 2,500 jobs are at risk at Lloyds Banking Group, as the UK’s largest high street lender prepares to restructure its business to focus on digital services.

The bank is set to review thousands of middle-management positions, according to a person familiar with the matter, including analyst and product management jobs. Lloyds, which has about 60,000 staff, said it was “evolving and transforming” in order to better serve its customers’ needs.

The UK’s mainstream lenders have retrenched from the high street in recent years, with one in eight branches running at the start of 2023 due to be closed by the end of this year. Consumer group Which? estimated earlier in 2023 that after the closures, there would be just over 4,000 branches remaining across the country, with 5,600 shutting their doors since the start of 2015.

The latest threat to Lloyds jobs was first reported in the Guardian.

Lloyds unveiled a five-year, £4bn investment plan last year under chief executive Charlie Nunn to diversify the bank’s income away from mortgages to business lines less dependent on interest rates, including wealth management and insurance. Nunn’s strategic plan also involved digitising operations as part of a move to cut costs and improve returns.

A person familiar with Lloyds’ plans said the latest restructuring was part of a push by the bank towards greater digitalisation, with as many as 120 jobs set to be created as a result of the shift.

“We’re delivering one of the largest transformations in UK financial services which includes reviewing how our business and technology teams work together effectively to deliver on our strategy and long-term growth,” Lloyds said.

But although Lloyds has moved to boost its digital services, the bank earlier this year pushed for staff carrying out hybrid working to spend more time back in the office. The move prompted nearly a third of respondents to report dissatisfaction with the company in an annual staff engagement survey, with the bank’s policy on flexibility cited as the main cause of discontent, according to an internal presentation seen by the Financial Times.

As banks have shut their bricks-and-mortar branches, their digital infrastructure has also come under greater scrutiny. On Friday, thousands of UK customers of HSBC faced disruption on one of the busiest online shopping days of the year when the lender’s mobile and online banking system suffered an outage.

Banks across Europe and the US have also been trimming jobs, putting a more intense focus on costs despite rising interest rates boosting profits at many lenders.

UBS has cut thousands of roles since it rescued Credit Suisse in March, while Citigroup this week announced the first big round of job losses in its wide-ranging restructuring.

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