Royal Bank of Scotland closes 18 Branches as customers are using more Online Banking

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The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has announced plans to close its 18 branches across Scotland, resulting in the loss of 105 jobs. This decision comes as RBS, now operating under the NatWest Group, has observed a decline in branch usage by customers. The Bank has committed to invest more than £10 million in the remaining branches. The bank has assured that there will be no further closures until 2026.

The Royal Bank of Scotland is a major retail and commercial bank in Scotland. The details of the bank are as given below.

Company typePublic limited company
IndustryFinancial services
Founded31 May 1727; 296 years ago
HeadquartersEdinburgh, Scotland, UK

RBS acknowledges the increasing preference for digital banking services, with over 80% of active current account holders utilizing these services. The bank recognizes the industry-wide shift towards online banking and is investing in digital banking solutions. However, RBS emphasizes that its branch network remains important and is committed to refreshing its network. It plans to invest £10.5 million in its Scottish network from 2023-24, in addition to investing in shared solutions such as the Post Office and banking hubs.

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Despite the shift towards digital banking, RBS acknowledges that customers value the ability to interact with skilled and experienced colleagues for more complex financial decisions. The bank highlights that over 97% of its retail accounts are opened online.

Increase in usage of Online Banking Services

In today’s digital age, there has been a noticeable shift in consumer behavior towards utilizing online banking services as opposed to traditional branch visits. This trend is driven by several factors that emphasize convenience, efficiency, and accessibility.

Firstly, online banking offers unparalleled convenience. Customers can manage their finances anytime, anywhere, using a computer, smartphone, or tablet. This eliminates the need to physically visit a bank branch during limited operating hours, providing flexibility for busy individuals and professionals.

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Secondly, online banking provides a wide range of banking services at the touch of a button. Customers can perform various transactions such as checking account balances, transferring funds between accounts, paying bills, and setting up automatic payments—all within seconds. This instantaneous access to banking features enhances efficiency and saves valuable time.

Additionally, online banking enhances accessibility for customers. It enables individuals to monitor their accounts in real-time, receive electronic statements, and access transaction history instantly. This transparency fosters greater control over personal finances and promotes better financial management practices.

Bank Union

The announcement of branch closures has raised concerns, particularly from the union Unite. Esther O’Hara, Unite’s industrial officer, expressed worry about the impact on the affected workforce and the communities they serve, especially in rural and remote areas. Unite’s priority is to ensure that there are no compulsory redundancies resulting from these closures.

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As of December 2023, Scotland had only 404 bank branches remaining, with 636 banks and building societies closing since 2015, representing more than 60% of closures in just nine years.

The RBS branches scheduled for closure in September are: Aberdeen St Nicholas, Bathgate, Cumbernauld Tay Walk, Dundee Kingsway Circus, East Kilbride, Edinburgh Bruntsfield, Edinburgh Leith, Edinburgh Nicolson Street, Glasgow Cardonald, Glasgow Charing Cross West, Glasgow Rutherglen West, Helensburgh, Inverness Chief Office, Inverness Eastgate, Largs, New Deer, Newbridge, and Wishaw.

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