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Small firms urge Lloyds to rethink branch closures as profits top £1 billion

Responding to the announcement that Lloyds’ pre-tax profits rose to £1.6 billion for Q1 2018, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry, said: “Now that Lloyds is well and truly back in the black, it should reconsider its aggressive branch closure programme. The public was there for the bank during the financial crash. It’s high time that support was returned. 

“With profits like these, is another 70 branch closures really necessary?  

“When a town loses a bank branch it hurts vulnerable consumers, high street footfall and small business revenues. We’ve seen challenger banks who are expanding their branch networks also report strong results, so we know it’s an approach that works from a commercial perspective. 

“If a small firm can’t deposit and withdraw cash easily it has to store more on site, making it a target for theft. Equally, many small business owners have working relationships with branch staff that go back years. That’s not something that can be replaced by an app. 

“If the developments at TSB over the past few days have taught us anything, it’s that sometimes you just have to visit a branch in-person. 

“Alongside branch closures, the big banks are now trying to force through a cut in funding for cash machines. If LINK’s proposed reduction to the ATM interchange fee is allowed to go ahead, serious damage to high streets could be done. The regulator must intervene before that happens.”