Lloyds, Barclays, NatWest and Santander bosses grilled over bank branch closures: ‘You don’t care!’

Lloyds, Barclays, NatWest and Santander bosses grilled over bank branch closures: ‘You don’t care!’

Lloyds announces 1,600 job losses across bank branches

Patrick O'Donnell

By Patrick O'Donnell

Published: 20/03/2024

- 14:27

High streets across the UK have been hit by bank branch closures, with thousands of branches having closed in the past decade

The bosses of Lloyds, Barclays, NatWest and Santander have defended their record on bank branch closures, as MPs grilled them on their plans for existing branches.

Charlie Nunn, the CEO of Lloyds Banking Group; Vim Maru, the CEO Barclays UK; Mike Regnier, the CEO of Santander UK and Paul Thwaite the CEO of NatWest, appeared in front of the Treasury Committee earlier today.

During the session today, Thérèse Coffey MP criticised the banking groups for failing to give up-to-date information on closures, and accused them of providing “inadequate” support by replacement services such as community hubs.

Ms Coffey took aim at Barclays CEO following complaints from her constituents in which she accused the bank of “not caring” about their customers.

The MP is campaigning to keep the bank’s Leiston, Suffolk branch open on behalf of her constituents who are not pleased with the alternative services provided.

During the committee meeting, she noted that constituents had complained about the lack of privacy at community hubs which is often needed to discuss financial matters.

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Ms Coffey, Lloyds and Barclays

High street banks are under fire over branch closures from MPs


The former DWP minister said: “I wanted to understand the criteria [for branch closures]. In particular, I’m focusing on Barclays because I have said this publicly and I’ll say it again to your face: I think you’re shameless and shameful in your approach to your customers.

“You make the majority of your profit now in the UK as a retail bank. It really indicates you don’t care. You used to provide more detailed information when you said you were closing.

“Now, for example in Leiston, you say 64 use the branch regularly, 80 per cent the branch and other access.

“That isn’t a lot of information to share so what is the criteria for closing banks? I’d be happy to hear from each of you.”

Defending his bank’s record, Mr Maru said Barclays examines “100 or so” data points to determine the criteria for whether a branch should be shut down.

He also said this was used to calculate where Barclays Locals, the bank’s physical service replacing branches, are needed.

However, Mr Manu acknowledged he would “look into” any instances where the bank is failing to provide accessible information on closures.

Lloyds’ CEO told the committee that high street banks were not “trying to obfuscate” the reasoning behind branch closures.

Mr Nunn said: “We look at transaction usage, behaviours, feedback from customers, what we think the community needs, what the alternatives are for meeting those needs.

“This has been happening for over 20 years. There’s very close monitoring we do to ensure customers, when a branch has closed and we have an alternative way of servicing their needs, what’s their usage of the alternative channels.

“We track customer experience. I wonder if that will be helpful. One of the most important things for me is that 97 per cent of our interactions with customers today are digital.

“The assumptions around which members of society don’t use digital have been typically not right.”


An image of a NatWest branch

The CEO of NatWest was among the chief executives forced to defend the rate of closures


When asked by Dr Coffey how many branches each back will close, Santander’s CEO said the group had no plans to shut down sites. Barclays CEO confirmed the banking group would close around 50 branches this year but would write to confirm the exact number.

GB News has contacted Lloyds, Santander, NatWest and Barclays for comment. Which? reports that NatWest Group has closed 1,359 branches since 2015 which is the most of any banking group.

The consumer champion found that Lloyds Banking Group, made up of Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland, has shut down 1,098 sites. Furthermore, Barclays has reduced its network the most out of any individual bank, with 1,168 branches locations shut since 2015.

In 2021, Which? reported Which? Santander had closed 470 branches from that year.

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