Around one third of Barclays’ branches in France, Spain, Italy and Portugal will close, numbering 340, and the focus will shift to higher net worth clients.
The geographical focus will instead focus on investment in Britain, the United States and Africa.
The bank said in a statement that its plan was built on a rigorous review of 75 distinct business units to determine not only their ability to generate an appropriate and sustainable return on equity, but also their strategic attractiveness, including their impact on the bank’s reputation.
Despite the difficulties faced in 2012, including a probe by the FSA into its 2008 fund raising and loans to Qatar, the Libor scandal and criticism over its corporate and bonus culture, Barclays’ adjusted pre-tax profits for 2012 were up 26% on 2011 to £7.1bn. Corporate and investment banking profits rose 46% and wealth management profits increased by 52%.