* UK branch network will shrink as technology, behaviour
* Barclays dismisses reports it will unveil significant
* Bank to take 330 mln pound hit from litigation,
regulations in Q4
By Steve Slater
LONDON, Jan 29 Barclays will close bank
branches in Britain "over time" due to changes in technology and
customer behaviour, but has no plans for significant closures or
a target for how much of its network will shut, it said on
The bank was reacting to reports it would shut 400 UK
branches, or a quarter of its network, as part of more cost cuts
that would be announced in fourth quarter results on Feb. 11.
Barclays dismissed that, but said it would take a 330
million pound ($547 million) charge in its results to cover
litigation and regulation penalties.
"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," a spokesman said.
"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 time frame for such action."
Barclays has the third biggest branch network in Britain,
with 1,593 branches, behind only Lloyds and Royal Bank
Those three banks, and others, are expected to pare their
branch networks as customers increasingly use internet and
mobile platforms and lenders try to raise profitability.
Barclays is trialling smaller sites in Asda
supermarkets, which could replace some traditional branches.
The Sunday Telegraph this week said Barclays could cut 400
UK branches and 40,000 staff, but said that would be over six
years, citing sources at the bank.
"The banking industry is going through what I like to call a
100-year transformation," Barclays Chief Executive Antony
Jenkins said last week in Davos.
But any branch closures could spark a political and public
backlash, especially in small communities with few banks.
Barclays said it "will never leave a community without the
ability to transact".
Jenkins is due to lay out a final phase of his overhaul plan
at next month's results and set new targets on how staff conduct
themselves as he tries to improve culture following a string of
He aims to cut 1.7 billion pounds in annual costs under a
strategic overhaul - dubbed "Project Transform" - he unveiled a
year ago, which involved axing 3,700 jobs, pruning the
investment bank and shutting nearly one in three branches in
He is attempting to find more cost cuts, and Barclays will
cut several hundred jobs in its investment bank, a person
familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
Jenkins will set out eight commitments for the bank to
achieve by 2018. He said last week these would form "the last
piece in this big transformation" he is making at the bank.