The Lloyds Banking Group has received a targeted appeal from the Shadow Minister for Small Business and Enterprise to improve its lending services to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) - particularly those with specific expansion plans.
Chuka Umunna wrote his appeal in a letter to the bank's chief executive, António Horta-Osório, that reached it just before the publication of the bank's strategic review, in which 15,000 job losses have been announced. Mr Umunna said that assurances must be made that any changes made in the review are not made due to cutbacks in "lending, services and support for SMEs".
The job losses, when combined with the 30,000 redundancies previously announced by the company, amount to the largest shedding of jobs carried out by a British bank. The company has sought to assure its workers and customers that the cuts will largely be made in the company's middle management level.
Mr Umunna wrote, "It is very important that, in seeking to make efficiencies, banks like Lloyds do not compromise the lending, service and support given to SMEs since the government expects those businesses to grow the economy and create jobs to make up for the extreme austerity programme they have imposed."
He said that the bank needed to step in to help the small businesses take on board the people who are made redundant in the public sector job losses.
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