British state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland is to close 259 branches and cut 680 jobs as it reduces costs and encourages customers to use online and mobile services. As Ciara Lee reports, the move comes a day after the bank closed its 'bad bank' set up to sell off unwanted assets.
The shift to online and mobile banking continues At a cost of 259 branches and 680 jobs at RBS The latest closures will affect its RBS and Natwest branches. Low interest rates and increasing competition from startup banks have eaten into profits for many British banks Prompting cost-cutting (SOUNDBITE) (English) SENIOR MARKET ANALYST, LONDON CAPITAL GROUP, JASPER LAWLER, SAYING: "You can't fight the trend. Largely RBS obviously have their own profit motives for this, but they are following the market trend which is more towards digital banking and just less general need for for an actual brick and mortar bank to go to." RBS has slashed thousands of jobs over the past few years. And the measures seem to be working It reported a stronger-than-expected operating profit for the third quarter, And hopes to return to profit next year for the first time since 2007 Although that depends on when it reaches a multi-billion pound settlement with the U.S. over mis-selling of toxic mortgage backed securities. RBS needed a £45bn taxpayer bailout in 2008. It finalised the closure of its 'bad bank', set up to sell unwanted assets on Thursday And the government plans to start selling 15 billion pounds of shares in RBS next year. British banks are set to close a record 762 branches this year Drawing criticism for depriving customers of face-to-face services - particularly in poorer parts of the country. RBS says it's just reacting to changing demands.