Up to 400 jobs at risk as TSB closes 82 branches
TSB is closing less busy branches in a bid to save around £100 million.
Up to 400 jobs could be at risk at more than 80 TSB branches across the country which will close their doors next year, the bank announced in another blow to the UK high street.
TSB said that it was cutting back its locations to refocus on profits, and will invest in digital capabilities while customers move towards expecting self-service.
As part of the plan, 82 branches will be shut next year.
Staff will be told if their bank is affected in the coming days, and a full list of sites slated for closure will be published on Thursday.
The banks on the list employ around 300 to 400 people, chief executive Debbie Crosbie said on a call with reporters on Monday. But she stressed that TSB would try to find them new roles within the group.
The plan we’re sharing today involves some difficult decisions Debbie Crosbie, chief executive
Many of them are older banks in less busy areas, and have been hard to adapt to modern banking. It has, for instance, been difficult to install WiFi and disabled access in some listed buildings.
The bank must cut costs to compete with many of its peers, Ms Crosbie said as she unveiled a wider plan to save around £100 million by 2022. She hopes this will help TSB turn a profit of between £130 million and £140 million.
“There is no doubt we have got challenges to face. Put simply, the biggest barrier for TSB’s future is that we’re much more expensive to run than our competition,” Ms Crosbie said.
“The plan we’re sharing today involves some difficult decisions, but it sets TSB up to succeed in the future,” she said. “Taken together, these changes will help us to serve more customers, better, for the long-term.”
TSB stressed that it had twice the number of branches per 10,000 customers in 2018 than the UK average.
As high street banks feel the pinch from online-only challengers, TSB laid out a £120 million investment package to improve its digital products.
This will allow bank customers to set up and start using a current account in just 10 minutes, much less than the seven days it currently takes.
TSB expects 70% to 80% of its sales to come from digital channels by 2022, up from 46% in September this year. Meanwhile, nine in ten transactions will be self service by then.
The digital investment may be welcomed by customers who have faced problems with the banks systems. On Friday some account holders were left without their salaries as the bank failed to process overnight payments.
Last year a major IT meltdown left nearly two million customers without access to their services. A report released last week accused the board of lacking common sense in the run-up to the disaster, which was sparked when a systems upgrade went wrong.
The scandal claimed the scalp of chief executive Paul Pester who was replaced by Ms Crosbie.
But the closures and the focus on digital raised fears that some customers might be left behind as the branches they have always used are abandoned.
“Our research has found two thirds of people would find life difficult without convenient access to a branch, while 11 million people lack the confidence to carry out basic banking tasks online,” said Gareth Shaw, the head of money at Which?.