LLOYDS Banking Group has announced it will close its Warrington telephone banking centre.

A total of 180 jobs will go at the Centre Park base and a further 120 will be trasferred to Speke after the bank announced 645 job losses today.

The union Unite has called on the company to guarantee no compulsory redundancies after the bank said the centre would close by the end of 2014.

Unite national officer Rob MacGregor said: “This is the third tranche of job losses since the beginning of the year and is in danger of sending staff morale to an all time low.

“The closure of the Warrington centre will hit the local economy and risks damaging customer service.

“Lloyds staff have worked hard since it was bailed out by the taxpayer to make the bank a success. Their reward has been continual uncertainty and attacks on their pensions.

“Lloyds needs to give its workforce stability and guarantees of no compulsory redundancies. Only then will the bank be able to live up to its motto to ‘Make Britain Prosper’.”

A company statement said: "As part of the Group’s simplification programme set out in its 2011 strategic plan, we have reached the decision to close Warrington Contact Centre, leading to around 180 role reductions, with around 120 roles also moving to nearby Speke, in Liverpool.

"Telephone banking call volumes are falling as digital banking usage continues to grow, and we are refocusing the business to reflect these changes in our customers’ habits, while ensuring we maintain our high standards for those who wish to continue using our telephone banking systems by bringing our telephone banking colleagues together at fewer, more specialised sites.

"Pooling our talent in this way enables us to operate more efficiently and improve our service to customers while providing greater career opportunities and a stronger support network for colleagues.

"As with any decision that affects our colleagues, this was a very difficult one to make. We will do everything we can to provide support for both our employees and the local community to manage this transition. We will work with our colleagues wherever possible to try to find suitable roles for them elsewhere within the Group.

"We are also working with external employment agencies and setting up an on-site dedicated Resource Centre to provide additional support and opportunities for those colleagues whom we are unable to redeploy internally."

Stephen Broomhead, chairman of Warrington & Co. said: "It is always regrettable when any organisation decides to close its Warrington office and when job losses are announced. We are aware that this has been a difficult decision for Lloyds Bank to make but is reflective of customer banking trends favouring digital banking.

"Warrington & Co., is Warrington’s partnership for economic growth and we will be discussing with Lloyds ways in which we can assist the employees currently based at the Warrington office to help them find alternative employment through our Redundancy Action Support programme.

"We are optimistic that the affected employees will find alternative employment within the borough of Warrington which currently has third highest employment rate per capita in the UK and the fourth highest jobs growth rate."

David Mowat MP added: "It is very disappointing and a reminder that the majority of bank employees do not work in the city of London. I have spoken to Lloyds today and made clear that they should do everything possible to avoid compulsory redundancies at the Warrington site."