Barclays to have iPad branches

Barclays community bankers will create bank branches on iPads to give customers a branch-like experience wherever they are

Barclays community bankers will create bank branches on iPads by summer 2015 to give customers a branch-like experience wherever they are.

This is the latest in a line of developments to improve customer services through mobile technology. 

In 2012, the bank gave 8,500 Apple iPads to staff across branches to improve interaction with customers. Now it is going a step further in attempting to offer the same services remotely. A trial with 50 Barclays community bankers is currently being run in Sunderland, Norfolk and London.

An iPad and Wi-Fi or 3G connection is used to connect to the service which will enable them to carry out money transfers, changes to personal details or account openings, among other things. The bank will roll it out across the country in the summer. 

Since October 2014, traditional Barclays cashiers have switched to community bankers roles. The digital revolution has reached a point where banks must begin to invest in staff to support and complement growth in digital services, investing in their remaining employees to carry out roles that are less transactional and more consultative.

Barclays personal banking CEO Steven Cooper said the days of banking services only being available by visiting your local branch are a thing of the past. 

“Community bankers on the move are now able to support a much wider geographical area and are free to drop in to local communities when and where they are needed most," he said.

“Alongside the availability of our colleagues in traditional branches through video, mobile, telephone and social media, this pioneering technology will allow colleagues to access branch services securely in minutes anywhere and at any time – whether it’s in a local village hall, library or community centre, we can now take the branch to the customer.”

As banks cut the number of branches they have, this type of IT development will become increasingly important. Just last week RBS announced another 99 branch closures

“We are seeing a revolution in the way our customers want to bank,” RBS managing director Moray McDonald told a parliamentary select committee. “We have been literally taken aback.”

Banks must balance digital and traditional services to compete with new financial service providers with low-cost bases and state-of-the-art technology. 

Santander chairman Ana Botin recently insisted bank branches have value, even if far fewer people are visiting them. 

“The fact is, even young people like to go to a branch at least twice a year. That means you need quite a significant retail presence,” she said.

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