Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LON:RBS) is closing a further 54 branches in England and Wales, the BBC has reported. The move, which is in addition to 162 branch closures announced this year, is expected to result in the loss of 258 jobs.
RBS’ share price has jumped in London in today’s session, having added 1.66 percent to 250.60p as of 13:31 BST. The stock is outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having fallen into the red and currently standing 0.44 percent lower at 7,425.61 points. The group’s shares have added about 0.7 percent to their value over the past year, largely in line with gains in the Footsie.
RBS to close more branches
The BBC reported today that RBS was closing a further 54 branches in January next year, in addition to the 162 branch closures already announced this year. The lender explained that the move was a result of the collapse of plans to float off its challenger bank under the name Williams & Glyn.
“As we are no longer launching Williams & Glyn as a challenger bank we now have two branch networks operating in close proximity to each other in England and Wales – NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland,” an RBS spokesman told the newswire. “As a result we have reviewed our overall branch footprint in England and Wales and have made the difficult decision to close 54 Royal Bank of Scotland branches.”
Unite union slams move
While RBS promised to “ensure compulsory redundancies are kept to an absolute minimum” trade union Unite slammed the move.
“It is utterly disgusting that Royal Bank of Scotland has the audacity to announce that yet more important local bank branches will permanently close their doors,” Rob MacGregor, Unite national officer, said in a statement. “The latest round of branch closures will reduce the RBS brand presence to just 51 sites, with the North West region yet again losing the largest number of branches.”