Bank workers wait to hear fate

SCORES of bank workers in Wigan were today fearing for their jobs after Barclays announced it was shutting its financial planning arm.

The banking giant, which has outlets in Wigan town centre, Robin Park, Ashton and Leigh, is to move away from offering financial planning advice to customers in its retail branches.

Union leaders said the move will lead to 1,000 job losses across the country, although figures for Wigan have yet to be announced.

Barclays has begun consultation with staff and the union Unite about closing its financial planning business, whose workers provide face-to-face advice to customers.

Instead it was proposing to offer retail investment services solely online.

The bank said there had been a decline in the commercial viability of the services in recent years which it expected will continue.

Customers were increasingly buying and managing their investments online, said Barclays. A spokesman said: “Barclays has been conducting a detailed review of its financial planning advice over recent months.

“This review has concluded that, given the changes to the retail investment market place, it is unlikely that this business would be able to deliver a return that would justify the investment required.”

The closure of the bank’s financial planning business has angered union chiefs.

Rob MacGregor, Unite national officer, said: “These highly trained workers will now face a bleak future along with the other 2.5 million unemployed in this country.”