Barclays to close dozens of branches across the country this autumn

 
William Turvill
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This photo shows the Barclays bank logo
At the end of 2016 Barclays had just over 1,300 branches (Source: Getty)

Barclays is planning to axe dozens of branches across the country this autumn, City A.M. has learned.

The bank currently has more branches than any other bank in the UK, with around 1,300 outlets.

However, Barclays has been cutting back each year, and is planning to shutter around 30 branches in October and November.

The closures, announced to customers in recent weeks, have angered local communities, sparking protests and interventions from MPs.

Towns and villages across Essex, Merseyside, Devon, Somerset, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Wight are set to be hit by the closures, which are not expected to lead to job losses.

Read more: This is what six City analysts are saying about Barclays this morning

With 1,305 outlets at the end of 2016, Barclays has more branches than any of its big banking rivals. However, this has been whittled down gradually from more than 1,600 in 2011.

Other banks have made closure announcements this year, but Barclays has kept comparatively quiet about its plans. RBS said it would be closing 158 branches in March, HSBC said it would close 117 in January and Lloyds is to close 100 outlets this year.

“The number of physical Barclays branches will reduce overall but our branch network and the colleagues who work in them remain a vital part of our offering,” a Barclays spokesperson said. “With customers visiting our branches less and less each year, we must constantly assess how and why our branches are used and make decisions based on that insight.”

Lib Dem leader and former business secretary Vince Cable said: “Closures matter when it is the last bank in town. Small business is affected when there is nowhere to handle cash and less mobile residents are isolated. I negotiated a, protocol with the leading banks to transfer activities to the post office. I sense that under this government not much is being done to manage closures properly.”

Goodbody banking analyst John Cronin said: “While it is becoming less common for consumers to use bank branches for routine transactions there is still a significant reliance. However, as banks refine and sophisticate their digital propositions we believe that the usage of branches will decline sharply.

“This will take time but we believe it will lead to further significant rationalisation of branch estates in the coming years. Ultimately, we believe that the optimal store footprint will be much less in the longer-term than it is today.”

He added: “The challenge for incumbent banks with large branch estates is that customer loyalty could suffer in the event that drastic further cuts to networks were to be affected.”

Read more: Barclays share price up after one-off costs cause £1.2bn loss

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