NatWest to close in Ripon

NatWest in Ripon

11:10am 1st December 2017
(Updated 3:36pm 1st December 2017)

Ripon's branch of NatWest is among nearly 200 set to close across the UK.

Royal Bank of Scotland is to close a total of 259 branches - a quarter of its network - in a move expected to result in 680 job losses.

The group, which remains 72% taxpayer-owned after its rescue during the financial crisis, said 62 locations in Scotland under its RBS brand would shut, as well as 197 NatWest sites in England and Wales.

It blamed the decision on the increasing shift to online and mobile banking.

There are going to be job losses in Yorkshire, as NatWest is set to close branches in the region.

As well as Ripon, the Pickering, Pocklington, Richmond and Stokesley branches will all be closed down.

Trade union Unite has accused RBS of "decimating" the network and "betraying communities".

The cuts represent a loss of two-fifths of RBS branches in Scotland, which will fall to 89.

In England and Wales, the number of NatWest branches will fall to 655.

RBS said 1,000 staff had been told their jobs were at risk, but that it expects many to be redeployed, resulting in a total job loss figure of 680.

The bank said it was seeking to manage job losses on a voluntary basis and keep compulsory redundancies to a minimum.

RBS said that since 2014, the number of customers using branches had fallen by 40% and mobile transactions had increased by 73%.

It said more than five million customers now used its mobile banking app and one in five only bank with RBS digitally.

The group said it was "committed to ensuring our customers and communities are able to continue accessing high quality banking services", pointing to its fleet of mobile branches and contract with the Post Office.

Rob MacGregor, Unite national officer, said: "Now serious questions need to be asked about whether these closures mark the end of branch network banking.

"This announcement will forever change the face of banking in this country, resulting in over 1,000 staff losing their jobs and hundreds of high streets without any banking facilities."

High street banks have been cutting swathes of branches over the last few years, as customers move online.

But the trend has prompted fears for communities being left without a bank in their town and those unfamiliar with the developments of the digital age being cut adrift.

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