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Lloyds blames low rates as it slashes 3,000 jobs

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Lloyds Banking Group is to cut 3,000 jobs and close 200 extra branches by the end of 2017 in anticipation of long low interest rates.

The news comes on top of the 9,000 job losses and 200 branch closures announced in 2014 as part of Lloyds Bank’s second group strategic review.

Lloyds reported a £2.5bn pre-tax profit for the half year to the end of June, up 108 per cent from £1.2bn in the same period last year.

The banking group blamed the latest round of cost-cutting on the rise of internet banking and the likelihood of Brexit keeping interest rates low.

Chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio says he expects Brexit to further slow the banking group’s growth.

The latest cuts means a total of 12,000 roles will have been axed and 400 branches closed by the end of 2017, taking the total number of jobs lost to 50,000 since the creation of Lloyds Banking Group in 2009.

Union Unite says the cuts will heap pressure on the remaining Lloyds workforce.

Unite national officer Rob MacGregor says: “This grim news of yet more job losses and branch closures will send a shiver down the spine of Lloyds employees, who have worked hard to make the bank a success and deliver excellent customer service against a backdrop of continual uncertainty.

“There is a real danger that customer service will suffer and access to banking for numerous communities will be damaged because of this latest round of savage cuts.”

MacGregor says the union will be pressing for guarantees over compulsory redundancies and warning it against cutting too far too fast.

He says: “Lloyds should be in no doubt that Unite will oppose all compulsory redundancies and will be doing everything in its power to ensure that those employees who wish to continue working for the banking group do so.”

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