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Banks looking towards digital future

The number of staff in UK high street banks could reduce dramatically in the next five years, as retail banks increasingly turn towards new technologies.

According to the ‘Telegraph’ newspaper in the UK, a number of major banks in the country are looking into the possibility of creating ‘express’ branches with little or no staff and automated machines.

These automated branches would see a rise in the number of digital alternatives for consumers, with self-service machines on-hand to complete around 95 per cent of transactions.

Sources revealed to the UK newspaper that trials are due to take place in the coming months, and if successful, the express branches will be rolled out across Britain by at least one of the big four retail banks in the country, consisting of HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and RBS.

Martin Shires of banking technology firm NCR, which makes automated teller machines (ATMs), said: "As early as next year, you could see one of the major high street banks buying a convenience store location and fitting it out with ATMs that mean you can do 95 per cent of your transactions through self-service. Within five years this will be a common sight."

Barclays recently announced it would be cutting 1,700 frontline service jobs as it investigated online and digital alternatives to traditional branch banking.

By Tony Aynsley