Trade union Unite has accused Lloyds Banking Group of betraying communities as a result of its move to shutter a further 48 bank branches.
Lloyds said on Wednesday that it would close another 48 branches across the UK, leading to the possible loss of 178 jobs.
Unite claims the closures of the “much needed and valued bank branches” will deny access to vital services and cash to thousands of Lloyds customers, with the vulnerable, elderly, and financially excluded being hit the hardest.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The announcement by Lloyds Banking Group of closing a further 48 bank branches is a complete betrayal of the communities and staff who have long supported this highly profitable business.
“This sector needs to start taking their corporate social responsibilities seriously and stop neglecting their obligations to their customers and workforce. Banks are leaving people behind in the rush to close bank branches and force consumers to go cashless to boost their mega-profits. It’s [a] classic example of putting profits before people.”
Unite stated that the time for the banking industry to have a legal commitment to protect access to cash and bank branches was “overdue”, particularly in communities “blighted by social deprivation”.
“We cannot allow the most vulnerable in our society to continue to be overlooked by the banking sector; bank branches and ATMs are vital public services for us all,” added Unite.
As of 1310 BST, Lloyds shares were down 1.46% at 48.68p.