Economy

NatWest announces it will close a Portsmouth branch

NatWest announces it will close a Portsmouth branch

Royal Bank of Scotland will close 259 branches and cut 680 jobs to reduce costs and encourage customers to use online and mobile services, Reuters reports.

The RBS branch is Barra's only bank and it hosts the only ATM on the island.

Unite, the UK's largest union, representing staff across RBS, accused the taxpayer backed bank of decimating its branch network and betraying communities.

RBS has announced it is closing 62 of its Scottish branches, putting 158 jobs at risk. In England and Wales the number of NatWest branches will fall to 655.

However, RBS hopes to limit the number of redundancies to 680 by redeploying the remaining staff.

The bank has pointed to the rise in mobile apps and online banking for the 40 per cent reduction in brick and mortar branches. The way people bank with us has changed radically over the last few years: since 2014, the number of customers using our branches across the United Kingdom has fallen by 40 per cent.

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A spokesperson said that the group is "committed to ensuring our customers and communities are able to continue accessing high quality banking services", according toSky News, while noting its mobile branches and Post Office contract.

The bank said it was seeking to manage job losses on a voluntary basis and keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum. The situation has sparked fears that some communities will be left without bank branches, with many still unfamiliar with online processes.

'We provide our customers with more ways to bank than ever before, ' she said.

Last week, the Government also said that it is dusting off plans to re-privatise the lender by offloading around two thirds of its stake, bought at the height of the financial crisis.

On Thursday, RBS announced the closure of its so-called "bad bank" - the unit set up to dispose of large chunks of unwanted assets following its £45bn taxpayer rescue - marking another chapter in its recovery.