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Halifax mulls over closures

Lloyds Banking Group is considering closing more than 300 "agency" branches run by its Halifax subsidiary in the offices of estate agents, solicitors and financial consultants.

The closures are part of the process of integrating HBOS, Halifax's owner, into the Lloyds group. There has been speculation that closures of some Halifax branches could follow.

The plan has prompted criticism from politicians and consumer groups because some of the outlets are in rural areas where there are no other Lloyds branches.

A spokesman for Lloyds, which took over HBOS last year when the bank was on the verge of collapse, said that none of the group's 3,000 branches had been included in the review of the agencies. However, Lloyds is expected to close branches at some point to rationalise services after its takeover of HBOS, which plunged the group into the red and prompted a taxpayer rescue.

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