Royal Bank of Scotland to shut 44 branches

A file picture taken on Aug 7, 2009, shows the London headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
A file picture taken on Aug 7, 2009, shows the London headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland said on Wednesday it will close 44 branches, of which 14 are classed as "Last Banks in Town", in Britain and Scotland.

An RBS spokesman said there has been a 30 per cent drop in branch transactions since 2010 as banking has changed significantly over the last few years as more and more customers are banking where and when it is convenient for them.

"Many branches classed as 'Last Bank in Town' are only open for a few hours a week and only see one or two customers per hour," the spokesman said.

"We have to adapt to what our customers want, which is why we are investing in a range of other ways our customers can bank with us, including online and telephone banking, our mobile app, and in any one of the Post Office's 11,500 branches across the UK," the spokesman said.

RBS in February said it planned to cut costs by £5.3 billion (S$11 billion), or 40 per cent, over the next three to four years, with £3.1 billion of that coming from the sale of businesses such as its US retail franchise Citizens and the rest from cutting overheads.

The bank's new chief executive Ross McEwan is looking to simplify the bank further by cutting its divisions from seven to three, reducing investment banking and shrinking its hundreds of committees.

The Edinburgh-headquartered bank has around 2,000 branches in total, of which 314 would become branches of Williams & Glyn, which is due to formally split from RBS in 2015.

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