Shropshire branches of Royal Bank of Scotland group 'under imminent threat'

Royal Bank of Scotland branches in Shropshire are under imminent threat, a union claimed today.

Shropshire branches of Royal Bank of Scotland group 'under imminent threat'

RBS is set to axe more branches in the Midlands and change the opening hours of others, according to the union Unite.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group, which includes NatWest, has recently closed branches in Shropshire and Mid Wales including at Ellesmere, Montgomery, Llanidloes and Llanfair Caereinion, in the face of increasing use of mobile and online banking.

The group still has RBS branches in Shrewsbury and Telford, and NatWest outlets in Bridgnorth, Ludlow, Market Drayton, Oswestry, Shrewsbury, Wellington, Welshpool, Wem, and Whitchurch.

Unite says 32 branches of the bank will be shut across the UK, and more than 300 will have their opening hours changed, as part of the latest round of cost-cutting.

The move is expected to lead to about 600 redundancies at the branches, including 400 in the Midlands, East and North.

The details of which branches are likely to be affected has not yet been released.

Lyn Turner, Unite regional officer, said: "With job losses across the country and surviving branches on reduced hours, there's no doubt this latest round of cuts will hurt the bank's customers as well as our members.

"With every branch closure, NatWest is slamming its doors on another community, dangerously undermining the bank's long-term future."

RBS was not immediately available for comment.

Its latest job losses mean RBS has axed 1,500 roles so far this year as it looks to trim costs and stem losses. The taxpayer-backed lender racked up its eighth year in a row of annual losses in 2015, posting a deficit of £2 billion.

As well as its efforts to make savings RBS is also shutting branches as more people bank online – a trend changing the entire UK retail banking industry.

The jobs gloom comes after RBS revealed in February that chief executive Ross McEwan saw his annual pay package double to £3.8 million last year thanks to long-term incentive share payouts.

But he did not take a £1 million "role-based" incentive for the second year in a row and the bank cut its overall bonus pool by 11 per cent to £373 million for 2015.

Mr McEwan is struggling to turn around the bank's fortunes since its £45.5 billion bailout at the height of the financial crisis.

It remains 73 per cent owned by the Government and has yet to pay a dividend to shareholders since its part-nationalisation.

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