Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

RBS announces further branch closures in Edinburgh

RBS branch Image copyright Getty Images

RBS has announced that it is shutting nine more Scottish branches.

The bank said all of the closures would be in Edinburgh and were in response to the popularity of online banking.

The Unite union, which represents RBS branch workers, said there was bitter disappointment at the news.

It said the closures would affect 116 staff and put 45 jobs at risk. RBS has closed 52 of its Scottish branches between August last year and August this year.

The branches affected include Blenheim Place, which will shut at the end of May 2017, Gilmerton, Juniper Green, Comiston, Davidson Mains, Portobello, Edinburgh University, Castle Street and Chesser, all of which will shut in June next year.

'Special taskforce'

A spokesman said the bank would be communicating with customers to allow them to "consider the right banking options for them" following the announcement.

He added: "We know that not all of our customers are comfortable and familiar with using online or mobile banking, so we have created a new specialist taskforce of digital experts who will be dedicated to supporting our customers with training and support with digital skills."

Unite regional officer Lyn Turner accused the bank of taking a "slash and burn approach" to community branches.

He added: "This is obviously further bad news for RBS staff - all of whom are now living with the daily fear that their job might be next - but it's also bad news for customers.

Image copyright RBS

"RBS isn't being upfront and honest about the changes it wants to make - but spreading them out in a way that risks a death by a thousand cuts.

"Our fear is that management are gambling with the future of the bank. If RBS continues to turn its back on customers and communities, then customers and communities may end up turning their back on them."

The announcement comes after the bank was identified by the Bank of England as being the worst-prepared of the UK's biggest lenders to cope with another financial crisis.

The results have forced RBS to devise plans to bolster its balance sheet by £2bn through cost cuts and shedding assets.

Under the "very severe" tests, banks had to be able to handle a house price crash in the UK and a global recession.

RBS, which is still 73% owned by the UK government after its bailout during the 2008 financial crisis, said it had "agreed a revised capital plan...to improve its stress resilience".

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