Lloyds bank axes 15,000 jobs in £1.5-bln savings plan

30th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain's state-rescued Lloyds bank said on Thursday it will axe 15,000 jobs to streamline the group, halve its international base and deliver £1.5 billion of annual savings by 2014.

LBG will "simplify the group to improve service and deliver £1.5 billion of annual savings in 2014" via measures that will include a "reduction of 15,000 roles", it said in a statement after a long-awaited strategic review.

The major overhaul, carried out under the leadership of new chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio, will seek to "streamline our international presence, from 30 countries to less than half that number by 2014", it added.

Lloyds, which is 41-percent state-owned after a huge bailout at the height of the global financial crisis, has now slashed more than 40,000 jobs since 2009 as it looks to guide its way back to health.

The majority of the job losses will be in middle management and back-office roles, such as IT and support functions, rather than the group's retail branch network.

LBG suffered spectacular losses in 2008 and 2009, as bad debts rocketed in the wake of its 2008 takeover of HBOS, which was plagued by toxic or high-risk property investments.

Lloyds will also seek to shed staff through natural attrition and redeployment rather than redundancy. The group employed 106,000 workers before the latest announcement.

"Our aim is to become the best bank for customers," said Horta-Osório, the former head of Santander UK who was parachuted into Lloyds in March to help turn around its fortunes.

He added: "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, to deliver strong, stable and sustainable returns for our shareholders."

Thursday's news of steep job cuts, announced amid a 24-hour walk-out by public sector workers in Britain, sparked intense anger from trade union Unite.

"The long-awaited results of the Lloyds strategic review will cause deep distress and anxiety across the company as staff face the reality of this arbitrary slashing of jobs," said Unite national officer David Fleming.

He added: "The conclusion of this review to make 15,000 staff cuts is yet another extreme example of the financial services industry cutting vital staff in a desperate attempt to create a mirage of acceptability following the financial crisis."

© 2011 AFP

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