Barclays to replace virtually all of its traditional bank cashiers with machines

Barclays is to scrap virtually all its traditional bank cashiers.

Instead, customers will be encouraged to use machines to pay in cash and cheques.

Familiar glass booths will gradually be ripped out of all 1,560 branches.

More than 6,500 former cashiers – armed with iPads and renamed community bankers – will give advice on things like opening new accounts.

Barclays say the move won’t result in branch closures. But it comes eight months after the bank announced it was replacing 1,700 staff with even more machines.

Workers were told of the new changes late yesterday.

Former cashiers will move up a job grade when they become “community bankers”, resulting in an average 2.8% pay rise.

New-style branches are likely to keep a small desk for those who don’t want to use machines.

Steven Cooper, Barclays’ personal banking boss, said: “This is about investing in our workforce and recognising their talents.”

But Charlotte Webster, of campaign group Move Your Money, said: “This appears to be yet another cynical move to save money rather than provide a better service to customers.”

Barclays already has more than 30 trial sites without main counters. The shake-up reflects the huge impact of online banking.

Barclays, which made a £5.2billion profit in 2013, was forced to deny reports earlier this year that it planned to close one in four UK branches.

But chief executive Antony Jenkins has admitted “huge swathes” of its work will be automated “reducing the risk of human error and simultaneously driving down cost”.

Banks have closed more than 1,900 branches in the past decade, reducing the UK total to an estimated 9,500.

In April, taxpayer-saved Royal Bank of Scotland sparked fears over the future of more than 230 branches.

It had pledged to hold off closing sites where it was the “last bank in town”.

But it ditched the stance with plans to axe 14 offices in that category. The move triggered concerns over another 233 areas where it’s the only bank left.

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