As more account holders around the world take fewer trips to bank branches, one of the United Kingdom's biggest banks is responding to the trend with a round of job cuts. Earlier this month, Barclays announced that it will cut 1,700 employees from its retail locations.
"The way in which our customers access their banking services is changing rapidly," a Barclays representative said in a statement. "More and more people are choosing to use smartphones and technology for everyday transactions -- using branches only when they need access to expertise."
"As a result of technological changes, we will be able to provide better service for our customers with fewer staff in our branches," the Barclays representative said.
Naturally, the bank's employees are upset with the move. Unite, the labor union that represents Barclays' employees, responded by urging the institution to reconsider the cuts.
"It's a colossal mistake for Barclays Bank to announce 1,700 job cuts across its bank branches," said Dominic Hook, Unite national officer. "Such a massive reduction will be very detrimental to the bank and will also be hugely challenging for the staff remaining."
While U.S. readers might not feel the direct impact of Barclays' layoffs, it's important to recognize the broader implications for the entire banking industry. While big banks used to want to have retail locations on every corner, those locations -- and the employees inside those bank branches -- are becoming less and less important with the availability of mobile banking. Emerging technologies are helping banks to cut costs, but the Barclays announcement clearly shows that they also are helping cut employees, too.
Do you still enjoy personal interaction with a bank teller? Or, are you spending more time managing your money via your smartphone or computer?