Royal Bank of Scotland, which is still 70 percent owned by British taxpayers, has accelerated its job-cutting scheme, axing a further 792 jobs and closing 162 branches as customers increasingly turned to online banking.
The posts that are being axed are part of a job reductions plan that was first announced by the bailed-out bank last year. It also follows on the closure of 259 branches in December as RBS progresses an ongoing restructuring program to cut costs and save an extra $3.45 billion by the end of 2020.
The news of fresh job losses came despite the state-backed lender reported last month its first full-year profit in a decade.
An RBS spokesman said they had made the difficult decision to close a number of Royal Bank of Scotland branches that were too close to one another – within 0.6 and 2.5 miles.
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He added: “We realize this is difficult news for our colleagues and we are doing everything we can to support those affected. We will ensure compulsory redundancies are kept to an absolute minimum.”
RBS’s CEO has previously signaled further job cuts as Britain’s biggest government-owned lender accelerates its investment in technology.
Staff at the Edinburgh-based lender were told by their line managers on Wednesday about the job losses, which cover large parts of the group including retail, group operations, marketing and finance and risk division.
The Union Unite criticised RBS plans to cut further UK jobs dubbing today’s announcement “horrific news for staff.” The organization said it would oppose all job losses and challenge senior management to ensure all those affected by this latest round of announcements be offered suitable alternative employment.