Barclays is set to axe 1700 customer-facing jobs from its branch network over the next year, citing the rise of new customer channels, particularly mobile banking.
The bank told staff yesterday that cashiers, personal bankers, operational specialists, branch managers and assistant manager roles will all be cut throughout 2014.
Explaining the move, a bank spokesperson says: "More and more people are choosing to use smart phones and technology for everyday transactions - using branches only when they need access to expertise. We are responding by investing in the channels that customers are increasingly using, whilst improving customer service."
Adds a statement: "As a result of technological changes, we will be able to provide better service for our customers with fewer staff in our branches. Today we have outlined a voluntary redundancy scheme for those colleagues who are interested."
The Unite union has slammed the cuts, branding them a "colossal mistake", insisting that "Barclays customers want well-staffed branches and would prefer to deal with the highly trained and professional staff that currently service their branches".
Despite Unite's fury, the job cuts come as no surprise. Last month, speaking as Barclays reported its third quarter results, the bank's chief Antony Jenkins hinted that branch cutbacks could be on the horizon as the bank bids to cut costs and take advantage of customers' growing enthusiasm for mobile services.
The implication of this shift in customer behaviour is that the "traditional branch model and other points of contact will become less important to customers as part of the service mix over time. And that in turn represents a significant opportunity to save cost," said Jenkins.
Since then plans to close call centres - which are also becoming less valuable in the age of digital banking - in Coventry and Dartford, with the loss of 600 jobs, have been outlined.
The bank is also experimenting with new ways to offer branch services, preparing to pilot sites within Asda supermarket stores.