Lloyds Banking Group confirms 9,000 job cuts and digital investment

Lloyds Banking Group has confirmed it will cut 9000 jobs and close around 150 branches to focus more on its digital strategy

Lloyds Banking Group has confirmed it will cut 9,000 jobs and close around 150 branches to focus more on its digital strategy and increase automated processes.

The firm announced it will be investing £1bn in digital technologies over the next three years, including “digital products” and better customer service, and will invest £1.6bn in increasing automation and streamlining processes.

In its 2014 strategic update, the banking group said it aims to create “seamless multi-brand, multi-channel servicing between online, mobile and branches”.

Lloyd’s said most of these changes are a result of changing consumer behaviour and the increased introduction of technology into financial services, and will be aiming to improve services such as remote advice and digital self-service.

The process began earlier this year when the group began reinvesting savings being made through a major restructuring programme into improved processes and digital customer interaction channels.

There have been thousands of job cuts since the financial services crash in 2008. In 2009, union Unite accused Lloyds TSB of embarking on a strategy of "death by a thousand cuts".

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Lloyds Banking Group has already made thousands of job cuts as a result of the part state-owned bank launching its Simplification Programme under the guidance of Mark Fisher in 2011. Ongoing simplification processes could lead to further job cuts in the future.

Through the digital investments, customers will be able to better utilise time in-branch through new systems Lloyd’s began putting in place earlier this year, such as its online branch appointment booking system.

Retail banks have been increasingly investing in technology to make branches more appealing and retain customers.

HSBC recently introduced free Wi-Fi to 650 branches to improve in-branch experience, and Barclays bank trialled touchscreen devices in branches in 2013 to offer consumers behind-the-counter functionality. 

The bank also rolled out iPads to staff in 2012 to improve customer in-brand interaction.

A recent report by Temenos found 30% of banks said keeping customers was their biggest challenge, with retail banks showing more concern over losing consumers than corporate banks, making digital strategy even more important in the retail banking sector.

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