Morning papers: Barclays chief to purge 400 branches

Barclays could close 400 branches in the UK and additionally cut hundreds of jobs in its investment banking division as chief executive Antony Jenkins works to reduce costs, the Financial Times reports.

According to the paper, the move highlights Barclays’ need to improve profitability under a tougher regulator. However, some analysts added that this emphasises banks’ increasing use of technology to improve customer service while cutting costs.

Mr Jenkins took over as chief executive in 2012 following the departure of Bob Diamond has focused publicly on cleaning up the bank’s tarnished image and is said to be seeking to improve profitability by cutting £1.7bn of costs by next year.

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TSB in £1.5bn-plus flotation

Lloyds Banking Group has initiated its £1.5bn float of TSB after rejecting a last-minute bid from a group of institutional investors, the Telegraph reports.

Paul Pester, TSB chief executive, is reported to be meeting potential investors interested in backing the business. The new “challenger” bank is set to float in May.

The TSB brand was returned to the UK’s high streets earlier this year after the sale of 750 Lloyds Banking Group branches demanded by European competition regulators fell through amid a capital crisis at preferred buyer Co-operative.

Banks hoarding savers’ cash

High Street banks and building societies are stockpiling savers’ deposits and paying almost no interest, growing their own “war chests” by one-fifth over the past year, the Daily Mail reveals.

An investigation by the paper discovered that banks have even been reducing rates since the beginning of 2014, with fixed-rate bonds suffering the most marked decline.

Embattled Bitcoin executive resigns

Charlie Shrem, vice-president of the Bitcoin Foundation, a lobby group representing the digital currency, has resigned amid accusations that he helped launder money for online drug market Silk Road, the Guardian reports.

Mr Shrem was arrested by US authorities at a New York airport on Sunday, dealing a serious blow to the lobby group’s work trying to win greater acceptance of Bitcoin in Washington.