The Royal Bank of Scotland (LON: RBS) has announced plans to close 162 branches in England and Wales this summer.
The closures will result in the loss of 792 jobs, with the affected employees being offered voluntary redundancy.
The Edinburgh-based bank hoped to form a new “challenger bank” called Williams & Glyn that would hold the branches put up for sale, however, the project will no longer go ahead.
“We are no longer launching Williams & Glyn as a ‘challenger bank’, and we now have two branch networks operating in close proximity to each other; NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland, in England and Wales,” said RBS.
“As a result we have had to review our overall branch footprint in England and Wales and we’ve made the difficult decision to close a number of Royal Bank of Scotland branches. Customers of Royal Bank of Scotland in England and Wales will be able to use NatWest branches instead for their everyday banking needs.”
The latest news of branch closures comes following the existing plans to close 52 bank branches in Scotland that are placed in rural communities and 197 NatWest branches.
The Unite union has calculated that these closures will lead some customers having no choice but to make a total of 25 miles round trip to reach their local branch.
“The TSB computer systems crash last week has demonstrated without question that the banking system needs its branch network more than it ever has,” said Rob MacGregor, Unite’s national officer.
“Unite is calling on the Royal Bank of Scotland management not to abandon their responsibilities to the communities across the country who depend on Williams & Glynn banking facilities.”
Last week, the bank posted positive results and beat analyst expectations. RBS profits more than trebled in the first three months of 2018 to £792 million, compared with £259 million for the same period in 2017.