Barclays sets out its flexible banking strategy
Barclays has announced the expansion strategy for its flexible banking formats, as it evolves its physical footprint in response to changing customer needs.
‘Barclays Local’ provides in-person banking support in community locations and new banking pods across the UK.
The plans include:
- Expanding Barclays Local by over 70 sites in 2023, in addition to 200 opened in 2022
- This includes entering new locations without an existing Barclays presence
- Launch of new banking pods: purpose-built, semi-permanent structures in sites such as shopping centres and retail parks
- Commitment to provide alternative in-person service in communities when a branch closes
- Scale Barclays’ ‘Cashback without Purchase’ service across the UK, plus investment in industry solutions via the Cash Action Group (CAG)
Barclays continues to adapt its physical footprint in response to declining customer branch usage, alongside the increase in customers using digital channels to bank. Across a range of different solutions, Barclays will provide in-person banking support through a flexible format, including branches, under a new sustainable model reflective of customer needs and usage.
Barclays already has the largest network of alternative branch formats – Barclays Local – with 200 opened by the end of 2022. Barclays will open an additional 70 in the first half of 2023.
Under this model, the bank works with local councils and communities to arrange a presence in places such as town halls and libraries, offering in-person banking support. Barclays Local colleagues provide face-to-face assistance, helping customers with their everyday finances and money management needs. Each Barclays Local also offers free digital skills workshops and fraud and scams awareness events for the community.
Currently, the format offers a way of remaining in places where there is no longer enough demand to support a traditional branch. The model will now be expanded and introduced into areas without an existing Barclays presence – enabling the bank to reach more customers in person.
In another first, Barclays is launching banking pods as part of its Barclays Local service. The semi-permanent structures provide a dedicated, private space in locations such as shopping centres and retail parks and can be moved depending on demand. At least 10 will be rolled out across the UK by summer 2023 following the success of the bank’s first pod in St Austell. In addition, six electric vehicle (EV) banking vans will be added to the existing fleet of 10, enabling Barclays to reach customers in remote locations.
Barclays will continue to review its physical sites – including branches, pods and pop-ups – depending on usage, with a flexible approach enabling the bank to match its presence more closely to local community needs. The decline in people using traditional branch facilities has prompted Barclays to find a new, alternative physical format that will attract and resonate with all customers. Furthermore, Barclays is committing to keep an alternative in-person presence in communities where it closes a branch, building on its existing programme.
Jo Mayer, head of Everyday Banking at Barclays UK, commented: “Barclays Local provides a flexible way to reach customers in new locations and retain a presence where customer footfall has reduced, bringing face-to-face support to convenient locations. As visits to branches continue to fall, we need to reimagine where and how we show up to provide the best service for customers now and in the future. Our new banking pods and community pop-ups help us to tailor our in-person support for each location, including support with digital skills. In areas where we close a branch, we will maintain our presence in that community offering an alternative face-to-face solution.”
Under initiatives to protect long-term access to cash, Barclays will grow its ‘Cashback without Purchase’ service, launched in 2022. The service has created new locations for consumers to withdraw cash for free, via thousands of small businesses across the country. Barclays is also one of the driving forces behind the Cash Action Group (CAG), including industry Banking Hubs- a shared space for the major banks to operate from one day each per week.