Royal Bank of Scotland has announced it will be closing 162 branches across England and Wales.
As a result, the bank has said 792 jobs will be lost, with staff offered voluntary redundancy.
An RBS spokesperson said: “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.”
Why are branches closing?
Royal Bank of Scotland in England & Wales and NatWest retail banking business in Scotland were due to be launched as a separate ‘challenger bank’, under the name Williams & Glyn. However, this is no longer going ahead.
The 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.”
Changes in banking
Royal Bank of Scotland said since 2014 branch transactions have been down by 30 per cent.
During the same period there has been a 53 per cent increase in the number of customers using mobile banking and mobile transactions have increased by 74 per cent.
What does this mean for customers?
We do not yet know which branches will be closing. However, the bank will be writing to customers of affected branches to highlight the alternative ways to bank in their area.
RBS has said that technology has been developed which means that customers of Royal Bank of Scotland can now use NatWest branches for their everyday banking, such as withdrawing cash, checking balances or paying in (and vice versa).
Additionally, personal and business customers will be able to access a range of services at either a Royal Bank of Scotland or NatWest branch, including payments, international services, account detail changes and mandates.
In order to support Royal Bank of Scotland customers with these services and their banking needs, members of staff will be dedicated to nearby NatWest branches to offer assistance.
Not all customers are comfortable or familiar with using online or mobile banking, so the bank has created a new specialist taskforce of TechXperts who will be dedicated to supporting customers with training and support with digital skills.