Bank closes 80 branches as profits hit £3.1 billion Lloyds’ pre-tax profits hit £3.1 billion in the first half of 2018, amid plans to close more than 80 bank branches, according to Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry. The Wilton branch closed earlier this year and the premises are still vacant Mr Cherry said: “The rapid pace of bank branch closures is hurting high streets all over the country. Thousands of small businesses regularly use branches to deposit and withdraw cash, access advice around new finance and receive in-person support when online banking services crash. We’ve lost more than 1,500 branches in the past two years alone – a figure that’s set to rise to 2,000 by the end of this year. On top of that, we’ve lost 1,500 cash points since LINK announced cuts to cash machine funding a few months ago.
“This squeeze on banking services and free access to cash means less footfall on struggling high streets and less cash flow in local economies. The result is, inevitably, slower growth. More than 90% of our members use online banking. There are plenty of occasions, though, when those online services need to be complemented by in-person advice and support. We need to remember that over a third of adults, often vulnerable consumers, do not use online banking. A key issue is that banks are under no obligation to publicly consult on branch closures before final decisions are made, or invest to improve replacement Post Office services as they leave town. The Access to Banking Standard must be strengthened.
“We urge all small firms who secured a business loan prior to 2010 to consult the Financial Conduct Authority’s guidance on Payment Protection Insurance before the deadline next year. Too many small firms were mis-sold PPI policies. It’s vital all those affected receive compensation.”