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A DECISION by taxpayer-backed Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to shut 259 branches and sack 1,000 staff was branded a “betrayal” yesterday.
The closures by the bank, which is 71 per cent publicly owned after taxpayers bailed it out following the 2007-08 financial crash, come on top of 500 already implemented.
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 closure of another 259 branches is savage and represents a betrayal of loyal staff and customers who have supported the bank for decades.
“Why is the government signing off this alarming branch closure programme?
“A decade of slashing jobs has done nothing to boost morale, increase consumer confidence or improve the bank’s performance.
“This British taxpayer-funded bank should be concentrating on investing in jobs here in the UK rather than cutting them wholesale.”
The bank is the third this week to announce branch closures and job cuts, following Lloyds and Yorkshire Building Society.
Shadow city minister Jonathan Reynolds said: “The decision by RBS to close one in four of its outlets is hugely disappointing.
“Not only will this result in the potential loss of 1,000 jobs but many people depend on being able to use bank branch facilities in person.
“As the taxpayer continues to own 71 per cent of the bank, its priority should be serving the best interests of UK customers.
“Labour will change bank regulations to stop branch closures where there is a clear impact on local communities and businesses.”
RBS insisted it was providing customers with “more ways to bank than ever before,” but it added: “More and more of our customers are choosing to do their everyday banking online or on mobile.”
The bank claimed that the number of customers using its branches across Britain had fallen by 40 per cent since 2014 and mobile transactions had increased by 73 per cent over the same period.
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