Bank branches to become the place to complain about online services

Interesting move from Barclays to retrain 6,500 cashiers to enable them to help customers manage their finances rather than just processing transactions.

In reaction to the explosion in digital services in the banking sector Barclays is redirecting its in-branch human resources away from transaction processing to customer services such as helping people manage their money. More and more people do the transactional side of banking online today and Barclays is reacting to that.

Earlier this week the British Banking Association published a study that revealed that almost £1bn in transactions are processed a day in the UK from customers using online and mobile banking.

A couple of things spring to mind here.

The first, probably the most interesting, is that perhaps banks have finished years of job cuts. Have we reached the tipping point with banks down to the bare bones in terms of people. Barclays is retraining staff to do new roles amid digitisation, not cutting them and replacing them. This is interesting because with more and more businesses digitising and automating processes there is a fear that there will be no jobs for people to do in the future. This Barclays move puts some evidence behind claims from corporates that jobs will change and not disappear. However banks like Barclays have cut thousands of jobs so the 6,500 cashiers is small fry.

The second thing I think of, which is probably just the cynic in me, is this will mean that branches are full of salespeople. I have been in my bank lots of times to speak to personal advisors and they always seen to recommend more stuff from them.

So it looks like branches will just become the go-to place to complain when the online banking system or mobile app crash. And as we all know, thanks to Twitter, this happens pretty frequently these days.