Royal Bank of Scotland is to close 162 branches in England and Wales, resulting in 792 job losses with many of them understood to be in the North West of England.
The bank, which is still 72% owned by the taxpayer, said the closures were due to the branches previously being earmarked for conversion to the failed brand Williams & Glyn.
An RBS spokesperson said: “We are no longer launching Williams & Glyn as a challenger bank, and we now have two branch networks operating in close proximity to each other; NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland, in England & Wales. As a result we have had to review our overall branch footprint in England and Wales and we’ve made the difficult decision to close a number of Royal Bank of Scotland branches. Customers of Royal Bank of Scotland in England & Wales will be able to use NatWest branches instead for their everyday banking needs.
Furthermore, the way customers bank with us has changed radically over the last few years. Since 2014, branch transactions across Royal Bank of Scotland in England & Wales are down 30%. During this same period, there has been a 53% increase in the number of customers using mobile banking and mobile transactions have increased by 74%. We now provide our customers with more ways to bank with us than ever before – customers can choose from a range of digital, face-to-face and local options to suit their needs.
We expect these branch closures to result in around 792 roles being made redundant. We realise this is difficult news for our colleagues and we are doing everything we can to support those affected. We will ensure compulsory redundancies are kept to an absolute minimum”.
A total of 109 branches will close in late July and August 2018. These branches are within 0.6 miles of another Royal Bank of Scotland or NatWest branch, the group said.
A further 53 branches will close in November 2018, all of which are between 0.6 and 2.5 miles of another Royal Bank of Scotland or NatWest branch.
Rob MacGregor, of trade union Unite, said: “Today nearly 1,000 employees have finally been told of their dark futures because the bank has been calamitously managed for too long. Ending years of speculation, Royal Bank of Scotland has effectively turned its back on the Williams and Glyn customers and staff.”