Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 11°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Update: Barclays denies plans for ‘significant’ reduction in UK branch network

15:49 29 January 2014

Barclays has declined to comment on speculation it could close up to a quarter of its UK branches.

Barclays has declined to comment on speculation it could close up to a quarter of its UK branches.

Barclays today denied it was planning a significant reduction to its branch network, amid speculation that up to a quarter of its 1,600 sites in the UK could close.

shares

The bank admitted there will be fewer traditional branches in the future but said the network was still an important part of its banking service.

According to today’s Financial Times, the bank is planning to replace around 400 branches with smaller sites in Asda supermarkets.

Speculation over Barclays’ branches follows an announcement yesterday by Lloyds Banking Group of 1,080 job losses across its retail, risk, operations and commercial banking divisions.

Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins is leading an overhaul to improve results and repair its tarnished image following the group’s £290million fine for rigging the Libor rate.

A Barclays spokesman said: “We have no plans to announce significant reductions to our UK branch network. Increasing use of technology is changing the way in which customers choose to do their banking and creates opportunities for Barclays to offer services in new ways, complementing the branch network.

“We have consistently been clear that, over time, there will be fewer traditional branches as we move to provide banking services to customers where and when they find it most convenient. However, the branch network will remain an important part of our banking service and we will never leave a community without the ability to transact.

“Whilst it is inevitable that there will be speculation about how these changes will impact on the branch network, this will be driven by the needs of our customers and, therefore, there is not a target for a number of branches to be closed, nor a timeframe for such action.”

The Unite union today attacked the “reckless rush” to close branches, which it warned would be unpopular with customers.

The union published a survey earlier this week which showed public opposition to automation in bank branches, with consumers preferring to deal with staff rather than machines.

Dominic Hook, Unite national officer, said: “Barclays must not embark on this reckless rush to close branches and fill others with machines instead of staff.

“There will be a significant cost to customer service in Barclays. Unite has called on Barclays to halt their bank branch closure plan. The banking industry must step back from the rush to install banking machines across all their branches at the continued expense of employment and training of a much-valued workforce.

“Research shows the significant reputational damage the banks will suffer if they ignore the needs of their customers. With 72% stating they have had problems with machines in branches and 62% preferring more staff in branches, there is no doubt about the importance of frontline bank staff.

“Barclays customers don’t want to see empty soulless branches. There are serious questions as to what this reduction in staff numbers will do to customer service in Barclays.”

Mr Jenkins will set out new financial targets when he presents the bank’s results on February 11.

Barclays also said today it will set aside an extra £330m to cover litigation and regulatory costs when it reports results next month. It did not provide further details.

The move comes two days after Royal Bank of Scotland allocated more than £3billion in additional funds to cover litigation and customer compensation claims, including £1.9 billion to cover mainly US action over mortgage-backed financial products.

shares

0 comments

Post Office services to return to Yoxford

The Post Office in a Suffolk town is moving to new premises, and will offer longer opening hours.

Dame Fiona Kendrick:, chief executive of Nestlé  UK & Ireland

Food giant Nestlé has announced plans to close its defined benefit pension scheme, sparking the threat of industrial action.

The Treasury has sold another 1% stake in Lloyds Banking Group.

The taxpayers’ stake in Lloyds Banking Group has fallen to below 16% after the Government sold off another tranche of shares.

The installation of solar panels on the roof of Precision Marketing Group's premises in Lamdin Road, Bury St Edmunds

A Suffolk-based firm will be among the organisations taking part in a nation-wide celebration of solar energy tomorrow.

Candy Gaga'’s Wanda Hewell, right, and daughter, Cherish.

Tower Ramparts in Ipswich now has its very own castle – thanks to the success of a local sweet shop business.

Stansted Airport

A report into the future of Britain’s airports does not rule out a second runway at Stansted – and raises fears of extra night flights to the Essex airport.

Growth in manufacturing eased last month  to its slowest level in two years.

Britain’s manufacturing sector grew at its slowest pace in more than two years last month, impacted by subdued demand from Europe.

Speedy Hire
 has warned that its results for this year will come in

Tool rental business Speedy Hire saw nearly a third of its stock market value wiped off after it announced the shock departure of its chief executive and warned over a major blow to full year profits.

Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand.

Pubs and brewing group Greene King today posted another year of record revenues, with sales within its key Retail division topping £1billion for the first time.

Suffolk Coastal considers convenience store bid

Planning chiefs have responded to concerns about noise and antisocial behaviour arising from proposals for a new convenience store in Kesgrave by insisting on closing times being brought forward an hour and the installation of a barrier to restrict overnight parking.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages