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Barclays sees new technology driving half its cost savings

A logo hangs outside a branch of Barclays bank in London July 30, 2013. Barclays is raising 5.8 billion pounds ($8.9 billion) from its share
A logo hangs outside a branch of Barclays bank in London July 30, 2013. Barclays is raising 5.8 billion pounds ($8.9 billion) from its share

By Steve Slater

LONDON (Reuters) - The boss of Barclays said new technology is ready to transform the experience of bank customers and help his British lender deliver almost half its planned annual cost savings of 1.7 billion pounds ($2.7 billion).

Barclays Chief Executive Antony Jenkins on Tuesday said operations and technology improvements should deliver 800 million pounds of savings in the next three years.

"This is now the time when we finally see technology creating a different sort of banking experience," Jenkins said at a banking conference in New York, via webcast.

New technology can allow banks to process transactions more efficiently and offer customers better access to services through mobile devices.

"There's a massive opportunity to create a much better customer and client experience at structurally lower cost, with better control and quality.

"Our industry has been so far behind on this, because we've had 20 good years where revenues were growing all the time," he said.

Jenkins is attempting to transform Barclays by shutting unprofitable areas, axing at least 3,700 jobs and pruning its investment bank to rebuild the bank's reputation and boost profitability after a series of scandals.

His plan, unveiled in February, aims to deliver 1.7 billion pounds of annual savings by 2015. A breakdown of cuts announced on Tuesday showed 700 million pounds of savings will from the front office and 200 million from functions such as human resources, finance and risk.

The plan will cost 2.7 billion pounds to implement, and Jenkins said 1.4 billion pounds of that will be in retail banking. He said 600 million pounds of the costs will be in its investment bank arm, 400 million will be in wealth management and the remaining 300 million is in corporate banking.

The breakdown of the spending is aimed at "rightsizing, industrialization and innovation" the bank.

Barclays was last month forced to announce plans to raise 5.8 billion pounds from shareholders to help plug a larger-than-expected capital shortfall identified by Britain's financial regulator.

Jenkins said economic conditions remain tough and there will be no quick return to the era of strong growth, but said he was confident there will be clarity on the major regulatory issues over the next two years.

"The period of greatest uncertainty for our investors in terms of regulatory risk and legacy challenges is starting to pass," he said.

The bank is expected to launch the prospectus for its rights issue on Monday.

(Reporting by Steve Slater)

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