Barclays ‘banking pods’ to pop up in shopping centres

Barclays plans to launch a string of “banking pods” after recently announcing more branch closures.

The bank said it will expand its “flexible banking formats” in response to changing customer needs.

The plans include the launch of new banking pods, which will be purpose-built, semi-permanent structures in locations such as shopping centres and retail parks.

The pods will provide a dedicated, private space and can be moved depending on demand, the bank said.

At least 10 will be rolled out across the UK by summer 2023 following the success of the bank’s first pod in St Austell, Cornwall, Barclays said.

The bank has not yet revealed the locations for the pods, but it is understood they will be spread out, potentially popping up soon in areas such as London, the Midlands and the North East.

The pods are part of the Barclays Local initiative.

Under the scheme, which Barclays is … Read more

Business confidence bounces back but interest rates will rise

British businesses have started the year with far more optimism, according to a new survey showing that confidence hit its highest level in six months in January.

The latest Lloyds Bank Business Barometer suggests that overall confidence among UK companies increased by five points to 22 per cent this month, moving closer to the long-term average of 28 per cent.

Confidence is an important economic indicator and driver of growth, because the more optimistic companies feel, the more likely they are to invest. The Bank of England follows confidence measures closely to gauge when to raise interest rates. The Bank is expected to raise the base costs by half a percentage point on Thursday, which will push the rate to 4 per cent.

The increase in business confidence was driven by a more optimistic assessment of the wider economy, with almost half of the businesses surveyed expressing greater optimism.

Hann-Ju … Read more