Banking jobs under threat

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MORE than 60,000 jobs are likely to be shed by British banks and building societies over the next five to seven years as new technology such as telephone banking and cash machines spreads, according to a report today by Andersen Consulting, writes Peter Rodgers.

The report, based on questionnaires to 400 banks and securities firms throughout Europe, predicts a total fall of 250,000 jobs and the closure of 20,000 branches over the same period in a drive to improve efficiency. The UK's total of bank, building society and Girobank outlets is expected to shrink from 40,000 in 1991 to 35,000.

In Britain 75 per cent of respondents said they already offered or planned to introduce versions of telephone banking over the next five years. The study says that retailers, manufacturers and finance houses will be among the 'banks' of the future.

Europe's banks expect more than 60 per cent of transactions to take place through cash machines by the end of the decade. The study also predicts that 40 per cent will be by telephone compared with 1 per cent today.

Stephen Kingsley, the Andersen partner in charge of the survey, said: 'If you add up the percentage of retail transactions that they expect to go over the wire - by phone or automated teller machine - it equals 100 per cent. This means nobody is going into branches except to get a loan.'

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