Published: Sat, December 02, 2017
Markets | By Rosalie Gross

RBS and Natwest bank branches to close with hundreds of jobs lost

RBS and Natwest bank branches to close with hundreds of jobs lost

As a customer, you might be wondering whether it's worth the extra mileage to get to the next nearest branch remaining open.

With 197 Natwest and 62 RBS outlets about to close, Jane Howards, its managing director of branch banking, acknowledged that some customers would be "really disappointed".

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan and local SNP Councillor Donald Manford have hit out at the decision by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to close their branch in Castlebay, Isle of Barra.

An RBS spokesperson said more customers are choosing to do their everyday banking online or on mobile, and since 2014 the number of customers using branches had fallen by 40 per cent, with mobile transactions increasing by 73 per cent over the same period.

"Since 2014 the number of customers using our branches across the United Kingdom has fallen by 40 per cent and mobile transactions have increased by 73 per cent over the same period".

In March RBS had already announced the closure of 158 branches with the loss of 500 jobs.

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However, union Unite described the move as a "betrayal" and ripped into the Government for allowing the closures to proceed. "Now serious questions need to be asked about whether these closures mark the end of branch network banking", said Unite's Rob MacGregor.

"I call on the Royal Bank of Scotland engage immediately with their island customers and businesses to find a way to ensure that the island isn't deprived of essential financial services".

"This announcement will forever change the face of banking in this country resulting in over a thousand staff losing their jobs and hundreds of high streets without any banking facilities".

It said it would seek to manage the 680 redundancies "on a voluntary basis", and would write to customers in affected areas to "highlight the alternative ways to bank".

Last week, the Government disclosed 2018/19 plans to sell around two-thirds of its RBS stake, which would equate to about £15bn over five years.

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