Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LON:RBS) is to close 162 branches, with 792 jobs to go as a result of the closures, the BBC reports. The move comes after the bailed-out lender scrapped a plan to sell its Williams & Glyn branches.
RBS’ share price has been subdued in London in today’s session, having given up 0.37 percent to 269.20p as of 14:47 BST. The stock is underperforming the broader market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having climbed into positive territory and currently standing 0.23 percent higher at 7,526.90 points.
RBS to axe W&G branches
The BBC reported today that RBS it was set to close 162 branches across England and Wales and that that 792 jobs would go as a result and staff would be offered voluntary redundancy. The branches in England and Wales, and the NatWest business in Scotland, had been earmarked to form the basis of new ‘challenger bank’ Williams & Glyn. The lender, however, scrapped the plan, unable to find a buyer.
“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,” an RBS spokesman told the newswire. “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.”
Unite union slams move
Trade union Unite slammed the move, saying that the closure plans had shocked the staff.
"The Williams and Glyn saga rolls on as Royal Bank of Scotland continues with its shambolically poor management of this business," Rob MacGregor Unite national officer noted in a statement. "How does a taxpayer funded institution spend £1.8 billion on a failed IT project and in the next breath demolish the much needed local bank branches?"
Today’s news follows the lender’s first-quarter results last week.