Lloyds Bank closing Codsall branch after 80 years as part of nationwide cull
The Lloyds Bank branch in Codsall is to close as the financial giant takes the axe to 49 branches and almost 100 jobs nationwide.
It comes just a month after Lloyds closed the village bank in Brewood, just four miles away.
The Codsall branch has been a part of life in the village for 80 years but customers will now have to travel to Cannock or Wolverhampton if they need branch services.
Unions have branded the move as "unnecessary". It affects branches under the Halifax, Bank of Scotland and Lloyds brands, resulting in 99 job losses.
The lender said the group was embarking on the closure programme partly in response to changing customer behaviour and the declining number of transactions being made in branches. Earlier this year announced plans to shut 100 branches and axe 200 jobs, including the branch in Brewood and another in Stafford.
A Lloyds spokesperson said: “We have made the difficult decision to close the Lloyds Bank branch in Codsall branch on February 27 2018. This is due to the changing ways our customers choose to bank with us, which has resulted the branch being used less often.
"We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause and have informed customers of the closest alternative branch, which is in Tettenhall."
The bank added: "Customers are increasingly choosing to use digital and mobile channels for their everyday banking needs.
"As a consequence, the number of customers visiting some of our branches has declined in recent years."
Lloyds insisted that branches remain a "key part of the service" it offers.
But union Unite reacted with fury, saying the move undermined growth and would leave more communities without access to "valued local banking".
Rob MacGregor, Unite national officer, said: "Lloyds Banking Group needs to halt this unnecessary bank branch closure programme.
"Local communities are making it clear that the closure of their local branch excludes customers who cannot use digital means to conduct their financial transactions.
"Having returned to profitability Lloyds needs to stop ignoring its corporate social responsibilities."
The Lloyds spokesperson said around 72 per cent of personal customers in Codsall now regularly use alternative branches or use other ways to bank such as online and telephone banking to complete their banking needs. The nearest Post Office is on Station Road with a cash machine a short distance away. Customers will have their accounts realigned to Queens Square in Wolverhampton.
The bank unveiled a hefty rise in third-quarter profits last month as the once state-backed lender hailed a "strong financial performance".
The company saw pre-tax profits more than double to £1.95 billion as chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio's turnaround of the lender continues.
The results built on a strong run of form for Lloyds, which was fully returned to private hands in May, nearly nine years after the Government bailed it out at the height of the financial crisis.
At the peak, Lloyds was 43 per cent owned by the state following its bailout during the banking crisis, after taxpayers were forced to inject £20.3 billion into rescuing the bank.
The group has also been dogged by PPI claims, having paid out over £18 billion to date to affected customers.