The Royal Bank of Scotland is set to close 158 branches as mobile and online banking accelerate.
In what is becoming an increasingly common occurrence, the Royal Bank of Scotland is set to close 158 branches in the UK.
The bank which is just over 70 percent government owned, first warned of the branch closures and subsequent job cuts earlier this year, after announcing annual losses of £7billion in 2016. Altogether, 30 RBS branches and 128 NatWest branches around the UK will close in the next six months, resulting in around 400 jobs being lost.
Commenting on the closures, an RBS spokesperson said to the Sun Newspaper that “we have seen a dramatic shift in the way our customers are choosing to bank, with more using mobile and online over traditional branch counters.”
“simple transactions undertaken in branch at NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland have fallen by 43 per cent since 2010, while online and mobile transactions have increased by more than 400 percent,” the spokesman continued.
According to the Financial Times, RBS managing director Moray McDonald warned in a Treasury committee meeting in early February that there is a significant shift towards using digital services.
After announcing the closure of over 150 branches, an RBS spokesperson told the Financial Times, “as customers change the way they bank with us, we must change the way we serve them. The role of the branch is fast moving to a center for advice, away from basic transactions. While the branch will still be a core part of our offering to customers, inevitably some branches will have to close. We know that some of our customers prefer to do their everyday banking face to face and we will help them with the alternative ways to bank in their community through our community bankers and NatWest or Royal Bank of Scotland TechXperts.”
In 2014 RBS closed 145 branches, including 102 NatWest branches. RBS closures are part of a larger downsizing of physical bank branches in the UK and around the world. Over the past two years, over 1000 bank branches have been closed throughout the UK by the country’s major high street banks.