THE jobs of almost 80 North East banking staff are at risk after Barclays said it will no longer offer financial planning advice through its retail branches.
The bank said 28 staff, who provide the service from its 90-strong branch network in the region, and 50 staff at its Sunderland contact centre face the axe.
Barclays blamed its financial planning service decision, which is likely to lead to around 1,000 job losses around the country, on a decline in the commercial viability of the services in recent years which it expected to continue. Customers were increasingly buying and managing their investments online, the bank said.
It proposes to offer retail investment services solely online.
In a statement, the bank said: “Barclays has been conducting a detailed review of its financial planning advice over recent months.
“This review has concluded that, given the changes to the retail investment market place, it is unlikely this business would be able to deliver a return that would justify the investment required.”
Rob MacGregor, national officer of the Unite union, said: “Barclays management should hang their heads in shame as 1,000 hard-working staff are told they no longer have a job at the bank.”
The financial planning telephone advice centre at its Sunderland operation at Doxford Park, which employs over 1,500 staff, was opened less than three years ago.
Barclays says it has entered into consultation with employees who support Barclays Financial Planning, the division that offers face-to-face financial planning services to retail customers. Its statement added: “Barclays is consulting fully with the union Unite and, if the proposals go ahead, is committed to supporting employees through this change, including a full range of redeployment services identifying potential options within and outside Barclays.”
Barclays also said its investment banking arm Barclays Capital is cutting jobs as well, with around 200 staff being let go in London as part of a worldwide push to reduce costs.
The move follows an industry-wide slowdown in investment banking revenues.
Mr MacGregor asked: “Are the senior management of Barclays too busy counting their bonuses that they have totally lost touch with those who make their business successful?
“These highly-trained workers will now face a bleak future along with the other 2.5 million unemployed in this country.
“This news once again confirms that, contrary to what the Government claims, the private sector will not fill the gap left by the slashing of jobs in our public services.”