“What we’re working through at the moment is how we manage that transformation in a sensible way to deliver the bank of the future while making the transformation in our technology base and operations,” says Lord Blackwell.
He refuses to put a number on what that means in terms of investment, but does say that any technology spending will have to be done “effectively and efficiently”.
Key to Lloyds’ future is its extensive branch network which, despite closures, remains one of the largest in the UK at 2,000 branches through its three main fascias (Lloyds, Halifax, and Bank of Scotland).
To Lord Blackwell, branches are key, but not necessarily as the public knows them.
“We’re looking at ways of creating what we call micro branches where we can reduce the headcount in a branch to reflect the number of customers using it, but still keep a presence at a much lower cost,” he reveals.
Would these micro branches sit inside supermarkets or department stores, perhaps? “That’s all up for discussion,” he says.
The review – which will place more emphasis on mobile branches in vans and ending duplication where it exists in certain towns – will, however, not put a figure on the optimum amount of branches for the bank. “I don’t think we can ever put a number on it,” says the chairman.
What he does pinpoint is the need to retrain swathes of staff from clerical and administrative roles into forward-facing jobs to deal with customer interactions and complaints where necessary. Those roles, combined with developers and technology architects, will be crucial to the bank’s future development.