RBS is to take around 180 bank branches off UK and Irish high streets but a signal of faith in Brexit Britain comes from Deutsche Bank. As Ciara Lee reports, the German lender has begun negotiations for a lease on a new building in the City of London.
180 branches to go and 1000 roles at risk. The latest round of cuts for British bank RBS. The state owned lender says a shift to online banking is to blame, with the the number of people going into branches dropping around half since 2010. RBS is struggling to return to health after needing the world's largest bank bailout during the financial crisis. Last month it announced a 7 billion pound annual loss. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NICK PARSONS, GLOBAL HEAD FX STRATEGY, NAB, SAYING: "Banks haven't really yet found a model for sustained profitability in the UK. And it's still going to be very very difficult. Perhaps more so against an environment where loan growth from businesses and consumers might actually slow further during the brexit negotiations, so it's still quite tough for the UK banking sector." And as Britain prepares to trigger Article 50 on March 29th, some firms have stepped up contingency plans. Goldman Sachs says it will begin moving hundreds of people out of London to retain access to the single market even before Britain officially leaves the bloc. Showing its confidence in the UK though is Deutsche Bank. It's chosen a new office for its London headquarters. The German lender has reportedly entered negotiations with a developer on a new building to be constructed in the heart of the city, with a 25 year lease. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NICK PARSONS, GLOBAL HEAD FX STRATEGY, NAB, SAYING: "The City of London has shown itself enormously adaptable to change and it has got that depth of infrastructure in legal services, in accounting services, consulting services, that is simply lacking elsewhere." HSBC though is shifting its focus to China. It's planning to add around 1,000 new jobs to its Chinese retail banking and wealth management arm this year. The bank's been facing downward pressure on its revenue due to regulatory costs and lower rates in Britain.