Financial company Barclays is gearing up to shutter 54 England-based bank branches by the end of 2017 as part of its cost-cutting efforts.
According to a report in Reuters, the move by Barclays is being driven by customer movements to embrace online and mobile banking. Barclays reportedly told customers about the impending closures over the past few weeks. When it is done shuttering the branch locations, the U.K. bank will still have roughly 1,300 branches.
According to Reuters, the closing of the U.K. branches is disproportionately impacting customers in the lowest-income areas, taking physical branches away from neighborhoods and communities that actually need the services the most.
"The number of physical Barclays branches will reduce overall, but our branch network and the colleagues who work in them remain a vital part of our offering," a Barclays spokeswoman told Reuters in the report. What’s more, the spokeswoman noted, it won’t result in any job losses as the roles are being transferred elsewhere in the organization.
"At a time of unprecedented uncertainty, the last thing small businesses need is [the] loss of in-person bank branch support," Mike Cherry, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) national chairman, told Reuters. "When times are tough, there's no replacement for help from a known and trusted bank branch contact."
Barclays isn't alone in closing branches as more people embrace mobile banking. Reuters reported in March that Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) announced it would close 180 branches in the U.K. and Ireland, putting approximately 1,000 jobs at risk. Lloyds Banking Group said in April it would close an additional 100 branches in the U.K. resulting in more than 325 job losses. Additionally, HSBC said at the start of this year it would close 117 branches costing the U.K. 380 jobs, according to Reuters.