Lloyds share price subdued as bank faces investor anger over branch closures

on May 12, 2016
Updated: Mar 11, 2020

Lloyds Banking Group’s (LON:LLOY) chair has been forced to defend the group’s branch closure programme at the lender’s annual general meeting, with shareholders accusing management of abandoning customers, Reuters has reported. Lloyds, rescued by the UK government during the financial crisis, recently unveiled plans to axe 625 jobs and close 21 branches as part of its ongoing efforts to cut costs and boost profitability.

Lloyds’ share price has slipped marginally into the red in today’s trading, having shed 0.17 percent to stand at 65.58p as of 14:37 BST. The shares are underperforming the benchmark FTSE 100 index which is currently 0.04 percent better off at 6,164.70 points. The group’s shares have lost nearly a quarter of their value over the past year and are trading below the government’s break-even price of 73.6p.

Reuters quoted one Lloyds shareholder as saying at the lender’s AGM in Edinburgh today that there had been “no consultation on branch closures worthy of the name,” and accusing the bailed-out lender of backtracking on a pledge to help rural communities thrive.
“Your salary increase alone would pay for a branch to be open,” the shareholder told Lloyds’ chair Norman Blackwell, prompting applause from fellow investors. Blackwell commented that the group was responding to the changing needs of its customers.
“We have to sensibly balance the needs of individuals in a local community with the way other people are doing their banking via screens and the online network,” he said, as quoted by Reuters, adding that Lloyds had closed fewer branches than its rivals. The comments came as news emerged today that bailed-out peer Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:RBS) was set to axe about 200 jobs at its retail bank, and close a further 20 branches.
As of 15:08 BST, Thursday, 12 May, Lloyds Banking Group share price is 65.50p.