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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

RBS axes further 259 British branches as it expands e-banking

British banks set to close a record 762 branches this year

British state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) said on Friday it will close 259 branches and cut 680 jobs as it reduces costs and encourages customers to use online and mobile services.

The latest round of closures at the Edinburgh-based bank follow 180 announced in March, putting 1,000 jobs at risk, and a similar move by Lloyds Banking Group which said on Wednesday it would close 49 branches.

British banks are set to close a record 762 branches this year, Reuters reported in August, drawing criticism for depriving customers of access to in-person services, particularly in poorer parts of the country.

Jane Howard, RBS’s managing director of branch banking, told Reuters by telephone that customers are increasingly using mobile and online channels rather than bricks-and-mortar branches, and RBS had to react to that.

“There will be some customers that will be really disappointed we are closing branches… and I understand why. But it’s important that we do respond.”

RBS is investing in its remaining branches and its digital offering, Howard said, adding: “Given what we know, we’ve got the right shape of network.”