The Scottish Mail on Sunday

£6bn profit but Barclays plans closures

- By Helen Cahill

BARCLAYS will launch a drive to shut branches this month – just as it posts its highest profits in four years.

The bank is set to close 20 branches over a 13-week period after it announces annual profits of £6billion on Thursday.

The closures will begin on February 21 when Barclays will shut its Perry Barr branch in Birmingham.

Dominic Hook, of the Unite union, said: ‘It is time for the banking industry to stop abandoning the local communitie­s which bring the sector its vast profits.

‘None of the new technologi­es replace the experience and skill of bank branch staff.

‘No app or website can provide some of the most vulnerable and socially excluded in our society with the face-to-face financial assistance they need.’

Analysts expect Barclays to reveal that profit before tax rose by six per cent to £6billion last year. Revenues struggled to gain ground due to low interest rates, rising just 1.9 per cent to £21.5 billion.

A Barclays spokesman said: ‘We continue to have the largest branch network out of any of the high street banks.

‘We always work closely with local communitie­s on any proposed changes.’

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