Lloyds Banking Group has sold its Halifax estate agency business for just 1 to LSL Property Services. The group has said 1,050 employees will be transferred to LSL after the sale.
However, the move is likely to cause 460 jobs to be lost, 360 of which are said to be full time positions.
Lloyds has been in talks about the changes with its unions, and added compulsory redundancies among counter staff was a “last resort”.
The business has 218 offices, 93 of which are franchise operations, but has continued to make losses despite efforts made by Lloyds Banking Group following the takeover of HBOS a year ago.
All 121 Halifax banking counters located in estate agents are set to close their doors early next year, and later rebranded as one of LSL’s existing brands.
LSL is the parent company of estate agency brands Your Move, Reeds Rains and Intercounty.
Lloyds said the decision to sell Halifax came after carrying out a strategic review, “which concluded that an estate agency operation is no longer integral to its business model”.
David Nicholson, managing director of Halifax Community Bank, said: “Halifax Estate Agency is a well established business and, following a strategic review, we believe that it is better able to grow outside the Group with a strong existing player in the market such as LSL Property Services.”
Ged Nichols, general secretary of union Accord, said: “We will be having early meetings with LSL to discuss their plans for the business and employees’ terms and conditions so that we can provide maximum support for Accord members who will be transferring to LSL’s employment.
Lloyds said all customers with mortgages or other services affected by the counter closures would receive a letter containing details of the changes and be given information regarding alternative locally placed banking facilities. Most of these locations either have a Lloyds TSB or Halifax branch within one mile.
“We have also made our view clear to Lloyds that the staff who currently work in the 121 branches with banking counters should have the opportunity to transfer to nearby bank branches. We believe that there is no need for compulsory redundancies.”
The sale has made LSL the second-largest estate agency operation in Britain. The firm was created after its counterpart Your Move was bought out of Norwich Union in 2004.
Simon Embley, LSL’s chief executive, said: “The purchase of Halifax Estate Agency heralds a significant step forward in the growth of LSL and its associated estate agency businesses. We now look forward to embracing the opportunities that this move presents to us and, at the same time, ensure the high standards and reputation HEA are renowned for are maintained and built upon in the future.”