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Lloyds Bank to trim branch sizes in UK

Lloyds Bank plans to trim the sizes of hundreds of its branches in the UK, as customers switch to digital banking reducing a need for large branches.

The new "micro branches" will have only two employees to assist customers in executing their transactions by using machines.

Under the new format, the branches will not have branches but customers will be allowed to talk to mortgage advisers through video links.

The lender has also announced plans to open 20 larger banks in city centres and launch 20 new mobile branches operating out of vans, reported The Guardian.

A Lloyds spokeswoman was quoted by the publication as saying: “Branches are a vital part of our strategy, and we’re investing in our network to make sure it’s right for the future.

“We’re transforming branches, responding to customers and giving them choice, including new flagship branches in city centre locations, and introducing some smaller micro-formats alongside our community and mobile branches.”

The bank has piloted the new micro format at an existing branch near St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

The new branches, where staff will use tablets to help customers, will occupy a space of just 1,000ft2.

Lloyds' chief operating officer for retail Jakob Pfaudler was quoted BBC as saying: “"We have a lot of branches that used to have a lot of footfall, and therefore feel quite empty and intimidating for customers.

"So when there's too much space we may board up places in existing branches."

In October last year, the lender said that it would eliminate 1,230 jobs, as part of restructuring strategy to reduce costs and increase returns for shareholders.

Image: The new branches will have only two employees. Photo courtesy of Lloyds Banking Group.