Hundreds of jobs go as 259 RBS and NatWest branches close

Dinnington's Nat West bank set for the axe

Royal Bank of Scotland has announced it will close a quarter of its branches and axe almost 700 jobs in a move that unions claim could signal the end of face-to-face banking.

It blamed the decision on the increasing shift to online and mobile banking.

Approximately 680 jobs will be cut, according to RBS.

There will be a total of around 680 redundancies, RBS said.

NatWest spokesperson Kate Visser said: "Since 2012 we have seen the way in which people use NatWest Gainsborough branch change dramatically, with now 86 per cent of customers already banking in other ways locally".

RBS, which is 72%-owned by the taxpayer, said it would try to ensure compulsory redundancies were "kept to an absolute minimum".

All have cited a changing relationship with customers, as more choose to bank online, as the reason for reducing their high street presence.

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"It shows the depth of RBS's lack of understanding of island circumstances that their email announcing the branch closure stated there are still "a number of free to use cash machines in your area", before listing cash machines some 27 miles away in South Uist, which people in Barra would have to take a ferry to use".

"As customers continue to change the way they bank with us, we must change the way we serve them, so we are investing in our more popular branches and shaping our network, replacing traditional bricks and mortar branches with alternative ways to bank".

The union's national officer Rob MacGregor also said the move could effectively signal the end of banking in branches.

RBS ATMs don't need to be attached to an RBS branch and Post Offices also offer withdrawl and deposit services for most major United Kingdom banks.

Last week, the Government disclosed 2018/19 plans to sell around two-thirds of its RBS stake, which would equate to about £15bn over five years.

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.

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