Barclays to close 400 branches - and replace them with smaller outlets in Asda supermarkets

Hundreds of jobs to go in investment banking division as part of massive cost-cutting programme

Barclays is to close about 400 branches across the UK – and says they will be replaced by smaller outlets inside Asda supermarkets.

The bank has said it will be cutting hundreds of jobs in its investment banking sector, as part of a £1.7bn cost-cutting plan.

Barclays is still reeling from a £290m fine in June 2012 for rigging the Libor rate on inter-bank lending, a scandal which saw chief executive Bob Diamond replaced by Antony Jenkins.

Mr Jenkins said last year at least 3,700 positions would need to go – and with the bank due to report its annual results on 11 February, the prospect of further restructuring and job losses is widely expected.

Barclays has one of the biggest branch networks of any UK bank, but by closing a quarter of its 1,600 in total and encouraging customers to use technologies such as smartphone applications and contactless payments, it hopes to slash costs.

Yesterday, it was reported that the bank has ordered staff to cut out all non-essential overseas travel. It is also preparing to end its sponsorship of Boris Johnson's flagship bicycle hire scheme in London in 2015.

Barclays has said it sees potential to reduce staff numbers from 140,000 to 100,000 in the coming years.

The news comes after Lloyds Banking Group said it plans to axe 1,080 jobs and outsource more than 310 roles as part of a continuing overhaul of the business.

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