No major closures says Barclays Bank bosses – who have branches in Hartlepool, Peterlee and Billingham

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BANK chiefs have denied reports they are to announce widescale branch closures.

National press reports yesterday claimed Barclays Bank – which has branches in Hartlepool, Peterlee and Billingham – was planning to replace around 400 branches with smaller sites in Asda supermarkets.

Barclays admitted there will be fewer traditional branches in the future but said there was no target or time frame for closures.

It said it had no plans to announce “significant branch reductions”.

A spokesman said the changes would be driven by the needs of customers adding: “Increasing use of technology is changing the way in which customers choose to do their banking and creates opportunities for Barclays to offer services in new ways, complementing the branch network.

“We have consistently been clear that, over time, there will be fewer traditional branches as we move to provide banking services to customers where and when they find it most convenient.

“However, the branch network will remain an important part of our banking service and we will never leave a community without the ability to transact.”

Speculation over Barclays’ branches followed an announcement yesterday by Lloyds Banking Group of 1,080 job losses.

Bosses are leading an overhaul to improve results and repair its image after the group was fined for rigging an interbank interest rate.