The inevitable march of progress? Barclays ditches bank cashiers

Barclays' 6,500 cashiers are being retrained as 'community bankers', but face-to-face banking is not dead just yet.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 07 Aug 2014

Barclays is retraining and rebranding 6,500 cashiers as ‘community bankers’ - aka staff who help out customers in branches (since when did does-what-it-says-on-the-tin ‘adviser’ become redundant as a job title?). Is this the beginning of the end for face-to-face banking?

Out will go coin-counters behind glass screens, in will come staff strolling around with iPads, encouraging customers to use self-service machines for paying in cash and cheques and other things that can’t be done online. The ‘community bankers’ will also start advising on opening new accounts and the like, which they don’t currently do as cashiers.

The rebranded branch staff will get a 2.8% pay rise from October, which will cost Barclays an extra £3m every year. The extra investment is in pretty stark contrast to the raft of job cuts and branch closures the UK’s large banks have been undertaking. Barclays itself said earlier this year it will slash 19,000 jobs by 2016, around 29% of its workforce.

Bricks-and-mortar banks and their staff won’t ever disappear completely. ‘High street outlets will remain important for those bigger moments, such as when a customer takes out a mortgage, wants to assess their financial options or resolve a complaint’ a report by the British Banking Association pointed out earlier this week.

Online and smartphone banking now accounts for almost £1bn in transactions every day, though, according to the BBA report, up a little more than 10% from last year. And that trend is one that’s going nowhere.

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