Barclays is facing an extra £330m in costs for legal and regulatory bills, the bank announced on Wednesday, as it confirmed that its branch network faces an overhaul in the coming years.
In an unscheduled announcement to the stock exchange, Barclays revealed the latest charge for "litigation and regulatory penalties" in its investment bank, where it is thought hundreds of jobs are on the line as part of a series of cost-cutting measures being prepared by the chief executive, Antony Jenkins.
The bank's full-year results are to be announced on 11 February 11 and it has joined Royal Bank of Scotland in being forced to issue a trading update ahead of formal publication of results.
While acknowledging that its 1,600-strong branch network was likely to shrink over time, the bank said that no formal announcement was scheduled to be announced in a fortnight's time and no decisions had been made about the scale of the cuts.
Over the last five years use of Barclays branches has fallen 10% while its mobile service is now used by 15% of its customers compared with 2% two years ago – sparking speculation about the future of its branch network. Call centre volumes are also down by 8%.
A Barclays spokesperson said: "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."
Jenkins regularly talks about technology during his presentations to City analysts and is thought to have calculated that as many as 40,000 roles from the 140,000-strong workforce could eventually be replaced by technology.
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