RBS is axing 600 jobs and shuttering 32 NatWest branches, according to the Unite union

Billy Bambrough
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RBS is the latest bank to announce job cuts and branch closures (Source: Getty)

Royal Bank of Scotland has told staff it will be making 600 job cuts and closing 32 branches in its NatWest subsidiary, according to the Unite union.

The closures are broken down to 18 branch closures in the bank's northern region, and up to 217 job losses. A total of 220 branches will change their opening hours.

In the Midlands and East there will be 13 branch closures and up to 176 job losses, while 94 branches are set to change their opening hours.

In London and the South East there will be over 200 job losses and one branch closure.

A spokesperson for the bank said:

Banking has changed significantly over the last few years and the way our customers want to interact with us is also changing. We have to continually adapt to meet our customers’ needs and to ensure we remain viable and relevant both now and in the future. This is clearly difficult new for staff affected by these changes. We are doing everything we can to support them, including seeking redeployment opportunities wherever possible and ensuring that compulsory redundancies are kept to a minimum.

Earlier this month City A.M. reported a drop in footfall meant RBS, HSBC, and Barclays could all be about to close more branches around the country.

Lyn Turner, Unite regional officer, said:

With job losses across the country and surviving branches on reduced hours, there's no doubt this latest round of cuts will hurt the bank's customers as well as our members. With every branch closure Natwest is slamming its doors on another community, dangerously undermining the bank’s long-term future. Unite will consult with our members as we hold the bank to its promise to avoid compulsory redundancies.

Rules brought in last year mean that the country's biggest banks must assess the impact of a branches closure on the local community before making a decision to shutter it in an attempt to stem a tide of closures over the last few decades.

Bank branch numbers acorss the UK continue to slide however, with data last year from consultancy McKinsey finding as many as 2,400 bank branches could close over the next five years.

There are currently just under 10,000 bank branches on the countries high streets, with around 2,000 having shut their doors over the last five years.