Yesterday the media was full of the news that the Lloyds banking group has made the decision to close the Cheltenham & Gloucester building society branches. This means around 1600 jobs will go across the UK.
What is surprising however is not that Lloyds has taken this decision but in fact that it took the group so long to do so.
Lloyds took over the C&G in 1997 after the building society de-mutualised in 1995. However, unlike when Barclays took over the Woolwich building society and closed branches and remove duplicate jobs, leaving the Woolwich just a brand name, Lloyds has kept C&G as a separate business with its own mortgage and savings deals. C&G customers have long been able to make use of Lloyds branches so they could have done the same as Barclays all those years ago and closed C&G back then.
Unfortunately, Lloyds has now taken over HBOS and the Halifax in the middle of a recession and so this means many High Streets now contain three or even four branches owned by the banking group. It makes sense to remove some and Lloyds has made a decision to close C&G.
The C&G will remain in name and its mortgages will continue. Although some C&G loyal customers may decide to go elsewhere, the decision is one that does make some sense.