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Barclays changes the face of banking with groundbreaking new branch

The site, underneath the iconic Piccadilly lights, was acquired by Barclays earlier this year and has been developed into the first “brand concept” bank branch in the UK, covering 8,000 square feet of retail space over three floors and making extensive use of new technology and design. The branch opened its doors for the first time on Thursday 18th December and will be officially launched at the end of January.

With the opening of the branch, Barclays becomes the first bank in Europe to pilot Microsoft Surface. The technology will allow users to grab digital content with their hands and navigate information about Premier banking with simple gestures and touches.

A major feature of the branch and the first aspect visitors will see is Being:London; an interactive and evolving installation representing London and what people in the capital are doing, talking about and interested in. A large video wall will graphically represent London using content from blogs and customer interests whilst personal consoles will enable people to contribute to the installation and explore relevant information from Time Out.

Outside of opening hours, the front of the branch will be transformed into the ‘Night Life’ screen. This installation picks up the image of passers using face recognition technology and cameras and creates moving silhouettes on the screen together with thought bubbles containing random messages.

As well as innovative technology, Piccadilly has full banking functionality for all Personal, Premier, mortgage and local business customers with extensive customer space, dedicated specialist areas and numerous private rooms. Piccadilly is the first Barclays branch to have totally open cashier counters with no glass screens whilst an innovative curved queue rail softens the waiting area. Handheld PCs will allow floor-walking staff to help customers with many queries without the need to wait whilst a large self-service area includes a foreign ATM dispensing dollars and Euros and deposit machines for cash, cheques and coins. The branch will be open seven days a week from 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm on Saturdays and 12pm to 5pm on Sundays.

Mike Amato, Chief Distribution and Product Officer for Barclays, said: “This is the first time that a bank has opened a store such as this. We have taken inspiration from retailers such as Apple and Nike and developed a space that attracts and engages individuals whilst conveying what the Barclays brand represents.

“Our plan for Piccadilly has been to build not only a branch of the future but a branch befitting the iconic setting. We have embraced innovative technology and design which we expect to attract the interest of the Piccadilly community in an innovative and generous way and of course enable our customers to be able to interact with us in the way that suits them and in surroundings that are comfortable and accessible for all.”

Barclays is undergoing an ongoing refurbishment of the entire branch network in the UK (currently 1733 branches) after extensive staff and customer consultation.

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