Virgin Money is laying off a quarter of its branch network, shedding 500 jobs. Meanwhile, Lloyds Banking Group has announced plans to cut 780 more jobs from its branches, Reuters reported on Thursday (Feb. 27).
Lloyds’ employee roster was 63,000 last year, while Virgin Money had a workforce totaling 8,700 employees.
Both U.K. companies are facing opposition from unions, as British banks shift to accommodate customers’ widespread transitions to digital banking.
A Lloyds spokeswoman told Reuters it was reducing the number of roles across its branch network, but did not comment on numbers.
“As customers are using our branches less often, we are reducing the number of roles across our branch network,” the Lloyds spokeswoman said. “This means we can shape our service according to customer behavior and local demand. Change does mean difficult decisions, and we are focused on supporting our colleagues at this time.”
Earlier this month, the banking giant Lloyds posted a 26 percent decline in pre-tax profits, down to £4.4 billion, the BBC reported. Lloyds Banking Group, which includes the Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland brands, has cut around 5,000 staff members in the last two years.
Virgin Money said most of the latest job cuts would be at its head offices. The layoffs follow 330 job cuts announced in September. The workforce reduction is part of Virgin Money’s strategy to reduce its staff by 16 percent following its merger with Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank.
Lucy Dimes, group business transformation officer at Virgin Money UK, told Sky News that closing branches "is never taken lightly."
"The Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Halifax branches hit by the extensive staff cuts today will have sent shockwaves through the communities [that] are at present served by highly experienced bank staff," said Scott Doyle, the Unite Union's committee chairman for Lloyds. "The decision by Lloyds Banking Group to cut the equivalent of 780 staff from its branches is yet more evidence of the bank's ‘profits over people’ culture.”
In June, it was announced that the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banking Group (CYBG) brand was going into retirement after its merger with Virgin Money.