In a bid to improve profitability, Barclays plans to close a quarter of its UK branches and cut hundreds of investment banking jobs in a planned restructure.

Barclays’ investment banking division employs 25,000 of the London-based bank’s 140,000 global employees.

400 Barclays high-street branches are to be replaced with outlets in Asda supermarkets – a practice more common in the US. Customers will also be encouraged to make use of Barclays’ website and smartphone apps. Some criticise what they see as an ‘exodus’ of banks from the high street, while others view the new emphasis on technology in customer service as a ‘fundamental 100-year transformation of the banking industry’.

Tough targets

Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins will outline new five-year targets for the lender next month. Jenkins plans to cut £1.7 billion from annual expenses over the next year in order to offset falling revenues and tougher regulations.

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