The Barclays and other non-Lloyds/TSB Bank thread

Critique
Posts: 947
Joined: Mon 17 Aug, 2009 10.37
Location: Suffolk

Wed 10 Jun, 2015 09.26

It's about time we had a special thread for banks other than Lloyds and TSB, isn't it?
S
Anyway, has anyone else had to experience the self service machines that Barclays are installing in their branches to replace counter service? Basically, what they've done is put up a fake wall in front of where the counters used to be, and in their place put a number of self-service machines. These aren't normal cashpoints or paying in machines, but some unique glossy black touchscreen unit from which you can do a lot of stuff from. They look like this:

Image

I notice that in the image above, as with my branch initially, the PIN pads don't have any sort of guard around them to protect from prying eyes. They have since been added.

As a result of this, there are now a number of staff milling around in front of the machines trying to help the large number of people who don't understand how to use them, and *i think* there is now one traditional counter next to their Bureau de Change desk, which always seems to have a pretty large queue. The machines seem to work well enough, and they have the nice coin conveyer belt as used by the Morrisons self-service tills and an interesting note compartment which opens up and you lay your notes inside in a much nicer way than trying to feed them through the slot as with the more traditional machines. But, the move to machines does seem odd when considering that a smaller branch in a residential area recently put up signs advertising that they had a full counter service Monday to Saturday. Additionally, for the technophobes and most of the elderly (there may be some crossover), I can't imagine these machines are particularly easy to use! The more negative among you might say that won't be a problem for much longer...

So erm yes, has anyone else experienced these new fangled machines? I haven't seen Lloyds, TSB, Halifax or Santander trying out anything similar. Saying that, my local branch of Santander looks very old and shabby and not at all welcoming from the outside, so I suspect they'd want to make the branch slightly nicer before trying anything more radical.
JAS84
Posts: 413
Joined: Fri 12 Aug, 2011 10.23
Location: Hull, UK

Wed 10 Jun, 2015 16.32

What's wrong with the old combo of manned counters and traditional ATMs? I'm tech savvy, but I'm not fond of these unpersonal developments in retail. I once put the exact change into a self-service till, and it reckoned I was a penny short - it apparently hadn't recognised one of my coins. "Unexpected item in bagging area" is another annoyance.
Martin Phillp
Posts: 882
Joined: Wed 11 May, 2011 01.28

Wed 10 Jun, 2015 16.36

A branch on London's Charing Cross Road is fully self-service, yet it's done nothing to get rid of the massive queues which are pandemic with Barclays branches in the capital.

There's normally one person supervising three tills.

In other Barclays news, they've reduced the opening hours locally. My local branch is now closed on Wednesdays, while another is open from 10.30-3.30 Mon-Fri.
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Alexia
Posts: 2966
Joined: Sat 01 Oct, 2005 17.50

Thu 11 Jun, 2015 10.42

JAS84 wrote:What's wrong with the old combo of manned counters and traditional ATMs? I'm tech savvy, but I'm not fond of these unpersonal developments in retail.

You have to pay a person, give them breaks, holidays, etc.....
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WillPS
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Location: Carlton
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Thu 11 Jun, 2015 12.23

More machines, less people. Explaining stuff to a human is rubbish.

I'm in the process of tarting between all the banks for their various sign up bonuses. So far I've had the Halifax incentive (even though I already had an account with them), Santander, Yorkshire Bank and I'm just waiting on a gift card from M&S Bank. I also briefly held a TSB account which I took out just to get the switch incentive elsewhere without disrupting my day to day banking (which I do through Halifax Reward and Santander 123 accounts).

Yorkshire Bank were by far the most hard work, requiring a looooong phone "appointment" followed by physically signing and returning tonnes of paperwork but in fairness their payout is £150, higher than the rest. M&S Bank (which I think is staffed by the same people as First Direct) made a bit of a faff of the switch process. Santander and TSB were both happy to do everything, including the switch, completely online with no return of paperwork or anything.

I'm not going to hold on to my M&S Bank account, but I do think the in-store banking model makes most sense. Be interesting to see if JS Bank jump on the current account bandwagon.
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Alexia
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Joined: Sat 01 Oct, 2005 17.50

Thu 11 Jun, 2015 14.31

I'm aware this is a non-TSB thread, but they're offering £100 on switching to the Classic Plus at the moment. Annoyingly, as that's what I switched to from H*BC a few months back, and I got f all.
thegeek
Posts: 509
Joined: Sat 04 Jun, 2005 12.35

Mon 15 Jun, 2015 10.06

I opened a savings account for my (at the time 3-week old) daughter at the Halifax, and it seems the trade-off for the high interest rate was a 'financial check-up', to 'make sure the product was right for us'. It involved lots of questions which were veiled sales pitches for more bank accounts, insurance and mortgages, lasted over an hour, and as well as being read lots of stuff from a script on the clerk's screen, we had to watch a video summarising the account terms & conditions. And at the end she had the cheek to question my decision to give her less than 5/5 on the customer service survey.

Apparently it's all in the name of due diligence, to make sure we weren't being mis-sold, but the previous week I'd opened a current account with TSB (with whom I'd never previously banked) in about 5 minutes online.
cwathen
Posts: 1116
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

Mon 15 Jun, 2015 18.40

Natwest have recently done a refit on their Exeter city centre branch (and I imagine are rolling this out on all the other branches they haven't earmarked for closure). The new look is much more airy and modern than the old stuffy interior which hadn't changed since the 90's.

Although I suppose it's a pluspoint that they've still kept a counter service at all, what they've done isn't half frustrating. At the front where the counter used to be are now a large number of atms, then in the middle are these weird things - high desks with two high chairs and a staff member. Not quite sure what these are actually for - perhaps for meetings not deemed important enough to be moved to a 'let's talk' cubicle on the side and certainly not important enough for a meeting room at the back.

The 2 position dedicated business counter and 5 position general counter they used to have has been scaled down to a 3 position counter with open till pods (to me an insane practice - what is wrong with having an enclosed counter to protect staff and assets?). The queue (when you can work out where you're supposed to queue from, as that is open to some interpretation) for the remaining counter service is insane.

It's not like they've cut any staff - you have to navigate hoards of them wanting to push you off to machines before you are permitted access to the counter queue (and then spend most of the time in the queue with a further person trying to talk you out of using the counter - you have to be pretty hardcore to make it all the way). The setup they have to assist with machines and queue manage still requires a large number of staff to operate the branch - most of which now seem to do nothing other than wave their arms at machines and check that people in the queue are 'in the right place' - surely some of these staff could be put to better use manning a bigger counter?
Critique
Posts: 947
Joined: Mon 17 Aug, 2009 10.37
Location: Suffolk

Mon 15 Jun, 2015 18.43

In Barclays on Saturday I received both a 'hello' and 'goodbye' from a member of staff in a black cardigan who was doing nothing but greeting people as they arrived and left the branch. I'm not sure that is the most appropriate use of staff.
Martin Phillp
Posts: 882
Joined: Wed 11 May, 2011 01.28

Mon 15 Jun, 2015 22.46

Critique wrote:In Barclays on Saturday I received both a 'hello' and 'goodbye' from a member of staff in a black cardigan who was doing nothing but greeting people as they arrived and left the branch. I'm not sure that is the most appropriate use of staff.
The greeter at the front is supposed to be there to help customers go to the relevant part of the bank. Their main aim is to get people using the self service bank terminal that is in some stores, which leaves the counter staff to deal with more complex banking issues, such as banking business takings.

Incidentally, the Natwest at Westfield Stratford City is different to any other branch that I've been into. They have a PO style seating area where people take tickets for the counter service or to see an adviser.
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Critique
Posts: 947
Joined: Mon 17 Aug, 2009 10.37
Location: Suffolk

Sun 07 Aug, 2016 00.11

In more exciting Barclays-based news a branch I occasionally use out of town-centre in a residential area has had it's account manager and old pay in machines taken away in the past six months or so, and replaced by different versions of the machines I mentioned in my original post. They look different, but run the same software - however the ability to book appointments within the branch is greyed out and there is no coin conveyor belt so you can't use them to pay in coins, although there is a 'coin out' space, along with a contactless card reader, that seem to serve no purpose at present. At the same time, Barclays have taken to ceasing to open this particular branch on Saturday. Despite all this, unlike the town centre branch it keeps a full counter service with 3 or 4 counters (albeit rarely all open). From what I've observed people have figured out very quickly what they need to say to the person milling around inside asking what help they need to let them go to the counter rather than be forced to use the machines - this means at least one machine is always free even if there is a queue, so I can generally pop in and use the machine and be in and out whilst the queue still dwindles.
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