More Lloyds branches to go in future

HALIFAX MP Linda Riordan has welcomed the report into the banking industry which put forward recommendations to safeguard savers’ money.

The Independent Commission on Banking suggests British banks should ringfence high street operations away from their investment arms.

It also said the Lloyds Banking Group should sell off hundreds more branches to make the sector more competitive.

Mrs Riordan said action needed taking but had concerns about possible job losses due to the disposal of branches.

“Bad risks should be completely separate from people’s savings,” she said.

“More regulation for banks is an absolute must. I’m not happy about selling branches off but we have to be realistic.”

Lloyds was already working to reduce its 2,906 UK branch network by 600.

The proposed reforms are aimed at promoting financial stability and competition, following the financial crisis which saw banks bailed out with taxpayers’ money.

Analysts say the proposals could mean higher charges for customers but Lloyds avoided its worst-case scenario of having to undo its takeover of HBOS.

Sir Win Bischoff, chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, said the earlier sell-off agreed by the European Union and UK Government was enough.

“The prescriptive nature of the interim report’s recommendation to expand the divestment beyond what had been agreed is not in the best interest of our customers.”