Belfast Telegraph

800 jobs to go as RBS closes 162 British branches

By Ravender Sembhy

Ulster Bank parent Royal Bank of Scotland is to shit 162 branches in England and Wales, resulting in 792 job losses.

The lender, still 72% owned by the taxpayer, said the move was linked to it not having to sell its Williams & Glyn business.

As a result the group has branches in close proximity to each other and is seeking to reduce overlap.

Its network of Ulster Bank branches is not affected.

RBS said: "Following a review of the branch network in England and Wales a decision has been taken to close 162 Royal Bank of Scotland branches.

"As a result, around 792 roles will be made redundant and we will seek to support our colleagues with the option to leave on a voluntary basis."

Last year RBS avoided the compulsory sale of Williams & Glyn, which had been ordered by regulators as part of the bank's obligations under state aid rules following its £45bn Government bailout at the height of the financial crisis.

Instead RBS will put up money to be shared among so-called 'challenger banks' to help them better compete with bigger players.

The closures will come as RBS reintegrates Williams & Glyn back into the core bank.

A total of 109 branches will close in late July and August. These branches are within 0.6 miles of another Royal Bank of Scotland or NatWest branch.

A further 53 branches will close in November, all of which are between 0.6 and 2.5 miles of another Royal Bank of Scotland or NatWest branch.

RBS added: "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 and 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 and Wales will be able to use NatWest branches instead for their everyday banking needs.

"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."

RBS also pointed out that since 2014, branch transactions across its English and Welsh operations were down 30%.

Belfast Telegraph

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