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Barclays To Close Branches And Cut Hundreds Of Jobs

Barclays plans to close a quarter of its branches in the UK and cut hundreds of jobs in its investment banking division as part of a restructuring.The lender is expected to replace about 400 branches with smaller outlets in Asda supermarkets.Barclays to close branches

The job cuts come on top of 3,700 layoffs announced early last year.

Chief executive Antony Jenkins is also expected to unveil new five-year financial targets when the bank releases its annual results next month.

He has been looking to improve profitability in the face of falling trading revenues and tougher regulations.

Mr Jenkins, who took over from Bob Diamond following the Libor rate scandal, plans to reduce £1.7bn ($2.8bn) in annual expenses by next year.

The new cost-cutting plan will entail closing branches and encouraging customers to use new banking technology such as smartphone applications.

The London-based bank is also restricting international travel to “essential” external meetings, in an attempt to control expenses.

Banking cuts

Barclays’ investment banking division – which employs a large percentage of the bank’s 140,000 global employees – is reportedly set to bear the brunt of the planned new job cuts.

Up to 400 senior managers, mostly in London and New York, are expected to be made redundant.

Last year, Barclays announced 1,800 job cuts in corporate and investment banking and 1,900 in its European retail and business banking.

Many major banks have been undergoing structural shake-ups due to the impact of the weak global economy and changing regulatory environment.

Earlier this week, Lloyds Banking Group said it would terminate 1,080 jobs as part of a business overhaul announced in 2011.

Co-operative Bank also announced that it would shrink its branch network following a recent £1.5bn capital-raising.

Reputational reform

Mr Jenkins has been looking to reform some bank practices after Barclays was implicated in a series of scandals, including the manipulation of key interest rates.

The firm has since ended speculative trading in certain asset classes and reduced its investment banking pay.

During the earnings release next month, Mr Jenkins is expected to also lay out several objectives aimed at improving the bank’s reputation.

This includes ways to restore public trust and increasing the number of woman in senior positions.

Barclays is scheduled to release its annual results on February 11.

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