Security company G4S has agreed a deal with Lloyds Banking Group to provide banks in vans, in a move aimed at filling the gap left by branch closures across the UK. G4S’s armoured vehicles and secure locations already transport and store cash for central banks, lenders, retailers and public services. But the FTSE 250 company has now agreed a deal with Lloyds to provide banks on wheels that would serve remote areas in England and Wales that no longer have high street branches.
G4S will provide the vehicle, driver, cash management technology and security, while a Lloyds employee will travel in the van to deal directly with customers. A successful trial has already been held in Scotland with further services being rolled out across the UK in the next few months. Lloyds is hoping to have about 20 such vans offering banking services by the end of the year, according to a lender briefed on the plans.
Banks in the UK and across continental Europe are retreating from the high street as they offer more services online, triggering concerns about the impact on local communities. More than 1,000 bank branches have closed in the UK during the past two years as pressure has increased on lenders to cut costs and customers turn to mobile banking. “We’re excited to be expanding our fleet of mobile branches,” said Lloyds Banking Group. “We believe they play an important role supporting customers in more rural areas and we have received very positive customer feedback on the service they provide.” Last month, Lloyds Banking Group revealed that it would shrink hundreds of its branches into micro-versions staffed by as few as two people, to provide basic services to customers. Other lenders, however, are bucking the trend. The number of bank branch visits is expected to fall to 268m by 2020, while mobile app usage is on track to more than double to 2.3bn, according to the consultancy CACI.