Big offices are now a thing of the past, says Barclays boss

Big offices are now a thing of the past, says Barclays boss in sign lender may give up most of its Canary Wharf HQ

By Lucy White For The Daily Mail

Published: | Updated:

The boss of Barclays has said having thousands of workers in one building ‘may be a thing of the past’ as he signalled a shift in the way the banking industry operates.

In a sign that the lender may give up most of its towering Canary Wharf HQ, chief executive Jes Staley said the coronavirus would have a lasting impact on where staff work.

Around 70,000 of the 80,000 employees are working from home with just a handful of the 7,000 who usually work in Canary Wharf, London, coming in to the office. 

Barclays boss Jes Staley (pictured with wife Debora) said the coronavirus would have a lasting impact on where staff work

Others are in branches, operating with social distancing measures, while a few are going in to call centres.

Staley said: ‘You’re going to find we use much more significantly our branches as alternate sites for investment bankers and call centre workers and people in the corporate bank. Putting 7,000 people in a building may be a thing of the past.

‘We will find ways to operate with more distancing.’

The bank yesterday published its first-quarter results, and will set aside £2.1billion to prepare for loans expected to turn sour.

Barclays’ loan loss provisions were well above the £923million forecast. 

Along with Standard Chartered, which set aside £771million in a 1,000 per cent increase on the year before, and HSBC and Santander UK which announced results this week, UK banks have earmarked £5.4billion to cover loans expected to go unpaid.

Barclays’ profits were down 42 per cent to £605million, though revenue held strong. 

There was no update on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) investigation into Staley and his relationship with the convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Staley avoided questions about whether Barclays was one of the banks called out by the FCA for unfairly squeezing desperate businesses for more cash during the coronavirus slump.

It has lent £737million to smaller businesses under the Government’s aid scheme.

At Standard Chartered, profits fell 12 per cent to £968million.

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