Royal Bank of Scotland culls 1 in 4 branches, blames the interwebz

Oh good, because nothing ever goes wrong with online banking

Taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland Group is shutting 259 branches and slashing 680 jobs, blaming the shift to customers banking online.

The closures involve 62 RBS and 197 NatWest branches.

So next time the bank has an outage, customers living in areas where branches have shut will just have to resort to bartering.

An RBS spokesperson said: "More and more of our customers are choosing to do their everyday banking online or on mobile.

"Since 2014 the number of customers using our branches across the UK has fallen by 40 per cent and mobile transactions have increased by 73 per cent over the same period. Over 5 million customers now use our mobile banking app and one in five only bank with us digitally.

"We realise this is difficult news for our colleagues and we are doing everything we can to support those affected."

No doubt the closures will also improve RBS's balance sheet, which this year showed a profit for the first time since 2015.

Unite the union said the latest announcement comes on top of previous closure announcements which resulted in over 500 branches being lost.

Unite national officer Rob MacGregor said: "The Royal Bank of Scotland has decided to decimate its bank branch network. Now serious questions need to be asked about whether these closures mark the end of branch network banking."

The bank is still 71 per cent owned by the taxpayer. After the closures 744 branches will be left.

The government renewed plans to re-privatise RBS in the budget, with the aim of selling £15bn of its shares by 2023. RBS was bailed out by the Treasury by £45bn at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. ®

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