A major shift in direction seeming to be looming at the Royal Bank of Scotland as the bank has decided to shutter 259 British branches putting in jeopardy around 700 jobs.
The move comes in the wake of major shift to how most of the banking transactions are carried out – online – as compared to offline mode of transaction that was the norm a few years back. According to information available as many as 62 RBS branches and 197 NatWest outlets will be closed by the middle of next year.
While RBS says that around 1,000 jobs may be affected due to the closure of these branches, it aims at saving some of these by redeploying staff.
“More and more of our customers are choosing to do their everyday banking online or on mobile. Since 2014, the number of customers using our branches across the UK has fallen by 40 per cent and mobile transactions have increased by 73 per cent over the same period. Over 5 million customers now use our mobile banking app and only one in five banks with us digitally,” The Independent reported while quoting a spokesperson for the bank.
The RBS is reportedly writing to customers of affected branches to highlight alternative ways to bank in their area. Further, it highlighted the creation of a special “taskforce” to assist customers who were not yet comfortable or familiar with using online or mobile banking by teaching them the digital skills to bank online or on mobile.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom’s biggest union, Unite, slammed the move as a betrayal of communities, while representing the RBS’ staff.
Headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, the RBS was established in 1727 and is one of the retail banking subsidiaries of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc, together with NatWest and Ulster Bank.
The bank is still owned by the taxpayer to an extent of 72 per cent.