Lloyds to end mobile banking van service

Lloyds to end mobile banking van service
A Lloyds mobile banking van with an image of a black horse galloping on it parked on a road

Lloyds is closing its mobile van banking service this year, after announcing 1,600 branch job cuts in a move towards online banking.

The banking group runs the facility as an alternative to High Street branches, with vans visiting towns and cities across the UK.

It said the service, which it runs for its Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland customers, would end in May.

Lloyds blamed the move on dwindling numbers using the service.

Customers can use the facility on set days and times, to cash cheques, withdraw cash, pay bills, send money abroad, or for general account enquiries.

The mobile vans stop at multiple locations, but the bank stressed that all mobile branch stops already have alternative options for accessing cash nearby, such as a Post Office, or a free-to-use ATM.

The banking giant, which owns Halifax and Bank of Scotland, said it would be introducing 32 more “community bankers” in local communities where a mobile branch currently stops.

The past few years have seen most of the major High Street banks close branches as more customers do their banking online.

An average of 54 UK branches have shut each month since January 2015.

The rapid pace of closures has led to calls from charities for more shared banking hubs to be opened to help those who feel uncomfortable managing their finances online.

These banking hubs have counter services run for the major banks, often by the Post Office. They also have a dedicated room where customers visit community bankers from their own bank, with different banks visiting on different days of the week.

Thirty-two shared hubs have opened so far, of which five are only temporary. Seventy more have been recommended by Link, the UK’s largest cash machine network.

According to Lloyds, visits to its mobile branches have fallen by 90% since 2018, with mobile branches now helping just 14 customers, on average. It said some of its locations have as few as two customers.

The banking group also said only 8% of its customers chose to use a branch exclusively to manage their money.

Speculation around the cancellation of services had led to some concern within local communities, with one town council leader telling the BBC: “Not having this facility means a significant minority of people in our area, many vulnerable, will have no access to a bank at all.”

Last week, Lloyds Banking Group announced it was cutting about 1,600 jobs across its branch network as part of an overhaul of its services due to the shift to online banking.

But the group said its restructuring would also create 830 roles, leading to an overall net reduction of 769 jobs.

It said the cuts did not apply to junior staff, and that voluntary redundancy would be offered to some.

Consumer group Which? called the latest decision disappointing.

“It highlights why we need strong regulator involvement, to ensure that alternatives such as shared banking hubs are more quickly rolled out, and then properly maintained,” the group’s deputy editor Sam Richardson said.

Source: bbc.co.uk

By David Ryckman