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TSB to close 164 branches

Written by: Emma Lunn
The bank is also cutting about 900 jobs and expects the vast majority to be staff who put themselves forward for voluntary redundancy.

TSB had previously set out plans to reduce its branch network but the changes today accelerate the pace of the closures.

The bank said the changes have been driven “by a significant shift in customer behaviour”, with less customers using branches and more people banking online.

The closures will reduce TSB’s high street network to 290 branches. It had more than 600 branches when it relaunched in a spin-off from Lloyds Banking Group in 2013.

Debbie Crosbie, chief executive of TSB, says: “Closing any of our branches is never an easy decision, but our customers are banking differently – with a marked shift to digital banking.

“We are reshaping our business to transform the customer experience and set us up for the future. This means having the right balance between branches on the high street and our digital platforms, enabling us to offer the very best experience for our personal and business customers across the UK.

“We remain committed to our branch network and will retain one of the largest in the UK.”

TSB said the branches earmarked for closure have been selected to ensure that 94% of TSB customers can travel in 20 minutes or less to a branch.

It said the new network will have an average of 17,000 customers per branch, which remains below the UK average.

TSB described its digital channels as “best in class” despite the bank being plagued with IT problems since April 2018.

TBS said its digital services have been bolstered by its partnership with IBM Cloud which allows the bank to quickly roll out secure digital offerings.

This partnership saw TSB launch TSB Smart Agent, a new online chat function, which went live within days during the Covid-19 lockdown.

TSB said that despite the focus on digital services it remains “strongly committed to providing direct face-to-face support for all its personal and business customers”.

The bank is enhancing its partnership with the Post Office. Customers will be able to use the Post Office to deposit and withdraw cash using a card, and collect coin change from pre-agreed locations.

Jobs will be lost across the branch network, and in mortgages and customer service operations teams. TSB is implementing a training programme to support those leaving the business find future roles.

Gareth Shaw, head of money at Which?, says: “These drastic cuts will be a huge blow to customers who rely on face-to-face banking, and highlights that the alarming rate of UK bank branch closures shows no signs of letting up.

“While the introduction of new FCA guidance to protect those who are unable to take advantage of new ways to bank is a step forward, it won’t be enough to safeguard access to essential banking services if there is a domino effect of branch closures across the country.

“The government must act urgently on its commitment to introduce legislation to protect access to cash. If it doesn’t, millions of consumers that rely on cash will be cut adrift.”

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