400,000 to be hit by Barclays closures

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The Independent Online

Barclays Bank today confirmed it had written to nearly 400,000 customers warning them that their branch will be among the 172 which are closing at the end of the week.

A Barclays spokeswoman said today: "We sent the letters out at the end of February. They went not just to customers of the particular branches but to people who regularly used the branches for services like cash machine withdrawals.

Barclays have refused to confirm precisely how many jobs will go, but say some staff will be redeployed, while others will take voluntary redundancies.

In the past 10 years some 4,000 bank branches have closed, with many more closures in the pipeline.

Barclays now has 1,700 branches, compared with 2,000 in 1995 and more than 2,400 in 1991.

Last year Barclays made record profits of £2.4 billion and last week revealed it paid its new chief executive, Matthew Barrett, £1.3 million for just three months in the job.

MP Martin Salter, chairman of the new All Party Parliamentary Group on Community Banking, said: "Most people left stranded by Barclays' savage programme of branch cuts will feel double angry that they are coming at a time of record profits for the UK banks.

"I wish banks treated their customers as well as they treat their shareholders."

A Barclays spokeswoman said: "We are currently exploring the options for providing rural communities with banking services and are in talks with the Post Office.

"Unfortunately a large number of customers are changing the way they choose to bank with us and this unfortunately means that some of the branches are no longer viable."

The Campaign for Community Banking claim 84 of the places where Barclays branches are closing and where there is no other bank branch to fill the gap.