Barclays has released plans to computerise a significant amount of its processes, igniting fears of branch closures.

The UK banking giant currently owns almost 1,600 branches, but has revealed that over 2m of its customers make regular use of mobile banking, while over 1m have registered for Pingit, Barclays’ mobile instant money transfer system.

Commenting on the move, Anthony Jenkins, Barclays’ group chief executive, said: "We’re working on ways to automate systems which have traditionally been performed manually, all but reducing the risk of human error and simultaneously driving down cost."

"Huge swathes of activity have the potential to be automated and we are in the vanguard of driving that in Barclays," he added.

However the news has provoked fears of branch closures and consequent redundancies, as fewer staff numbers are needed to complete everyday transactions.

Jenkins denied that the change would bring to significant job losses, claiming reductions could be achieved through staff turnover and redeployment, but said Barclays could not rule out voluntary redundancies.

The bank currently operates over 1,700 branches across the UK and announced a quarterly pre-tax profit of £1.4bn at the end of September 2013.


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