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RBS draws up plans to axe 200 jobs as it cuts back on branches

Published 12/05/2016

RBS has cut around 1,350 posts out of a workforce of 12,000 staff in its branch network since mid-March
RBS has cut around 1,350 posts out of a workforce of 12,000 staff in its branch network since mid-March

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has drawn up plans to axe 200 jobs as it cuts back its branch network.

The bank intends to scrub clerical roles in Scotland, Wales or south-west England, which will also lead to a number of branch closures.

RBS, which is 73% owned by the taxpayer, has cut around 1,350 posts out of a workforce of 12,000 staff in its branch network since mid-March.

The move is part of the bank's plans to slim down from a sprawling international bank to a UK-focused lender.

The lender currently operates 1,093 RBS and NatWest branches.

RBS said its strategy reflects the changing nature of how customers use banks. It said branch transactions have fallen by 43% since 2010, while digital usage has jumped by 400% over the same period.

The lender said: "We review our branch network regularly to make sure the services we provide are appropriate for each local community, based on customer usage and other ways to bank in the local area.

"Where we do have to make the difficult decision to close a branch we will always tell our staff and customers first."

However, customer service standards at the group's branches have come under the spotlight recently.

RBS came bottom of customer satisfaction in a poll this year by the UK's largest consumer body Which?, while in September customers also voted RBS the worst British bank for a second year in a row in a separate survey by price comparison website uSwitch.

The boss of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Ross McEwan, said at its annual meeting last week that the ''heaviest restructuring'' of the bank will be behind it by the end of the year as it presses ahead with cost-cutting plans.

RBS reported a first-quarter pre-tax loss of £968 million last month - more than double last year's figure of £446 million.

The loss reflects the impact of its £1.2 billion payment last month to the Treasury to buy out a crucial part of its £45 billion bailout when it was saved from collapse in 2008.

This comes after the bank racked up its eighth consecutive year of annual losses and delayed prospects of a dividend payout in February.

However, chief executive Mr McEwan saw his total annual pay package double to £3.8 million as it included long-term incentive payouts for the first time.

RBS also warned of a greater-than-expected hit from plans to spin off its Williams & Glyn arm last month that could fetch as much as £1.5 billion.

The group said there was a "significant risk" that it would not meet the deadline to separate the 316-branch Williams & Glyn business by the end of 2017.

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