Lloyds Cutting Deep

by Mark Johnston

The Lloyds TSB Banking Group are cutting yet more jobs.  In early August the Group decided to axe 40 staff in their Wales region.
Earlier this year, the Lloyds banking group removed 15,000 jobs from their balance sheet and Mr Horta-Osorio said that he wants Lloyds to be the best bank for the customers.  So to continue in the vein that they have been following for the last few years, they are set to remove a further 15,000 jobs from the group, accounting for about 14 per cent of the work force.  Mr Horta-Osorio is widely known and has commented that he intents to see out the strategic vision he has for the group.
One of the aims is to reduce the groups over all visibility on in the international community and focus more on the UK.  The group also aims to meet its £1.5 billion annual savings by 2014.  This, it would seem, is being done through cutting staff and making the organisation a little leaner and retracting from areas that don’t make major profits.
So far, since the Lloyds merger with HBOS, the Lloyds group has removed over 27,500 jobs from their organisation but comments internally are resolute about not closing any branches.  All the cuts seem to be in their back office functions and in middle management.  Insiders have commented that among these changes will be “better end-to-end processes and IT platforms, a de-layered management structure and simpler legal structure, [and] centralised support functions”.
The market took the job cuts quite well as the Lloyds group closed up 9.7 per cent on the Stock Exchange in London, the biggest rise for the day on the top 100 companies index.
The BBC’s Robert Paterson said that “Never have so many jobs been shed by a single bank in British history” going on to say “He wants to do as much of [the job cuts] through redeployment and natural attrition as redundancies, but there are bound to be redundancies,” “They want to bring top management closer to branch management – so there’s a whole swathe of managers for whom that is incredibly bad news.”
The cost cutting exercise within the group will cost about £2.3 billion but will free up about £2 billion for investment in 2011 – 2014 in an effort to “revitalise Halifax” and the other business under the Lloyds group banner.
“Our aim is to become the best bank for customers,” said Mr Horta-Osorio.
“We will unlock the potential in this franchise over time by creating a simpler, more agile and responsive organisation, and by making substantial investments in better-value products and services for our customers.”
Unite, the largest union in the country, said that this news would cause “deep distress and anxiety”. Going further to say that “This review is merely another box-ticking exercise to give this bank – which has already, since its creation two years ago, cut over 27,000 staff – an excuse to sack more employees.”
HSBC is also cutting 700 jobs in its UK retail banking arm but then again, HSBC isn’t owned by the UK tax payers.

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