Jobs blow for Wigan as banking giant confirms six branch closures

Dozens of finance jobs are set to be shed in Wigan after the Royal Bank of Scotland announced the closure of six high street branches.

Wednesday, 5th September 2018, 12:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th September 2018, 1:41 pm
Six RBS branches will close in the Wigan area
Six RBS branches will close in the Wigan area

RBS will disappear from Pemberton, Standish, Hindley, Parbold, Leigh, Atherton and Hindley, it has been announced today.

Bank bosses have put the decision down to not launching the Williams & Glynn brand as a 'challenger bank', leaving RBS and NatWest sites they own in close proximity to each other.

But union leaders have condemned the move, as part of a closure programme affecting 54 locations, as "utterly disgusting".

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An estimated 258 jobs will be lost nationwide, it has been confirmed.

An RBS spokesman said: "As we are no longer launching Williams & Glyn as a challenger bank we now have two branch networks operating in close proximity to each other in England and Wales - NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland.

"As a result we have reviewed our overall branch footprint in England and Wales and have made the difficult decision to close 54 Royal Bank of Scotland branches.

"Customers of Royal Bank of Scotland in England and Wales will be able to use NatWest branches and local post offices for their everyday banking needs."

Last year RBS also closed 162 branches, resulting in nearly 800 jobs being axed.

Unions reacted with fury to the news, describing the decision as a hammer blow to the disabled and elderly.

Rob MacGregor, of union Unite, said: "It is utterly disgusting that Royal Bank of Scotland has the audacity to announce that yet more important local bank branches will permanently close their doors.

"This announcement heaps further misery on communities across England and Wales that have already seen the demise of local banking services as branches that were signposted by the bank earlier in 2018 as an alternative for customers whose branches were closing, now suffering a similar fate.

"The disabled, elderly and many local businesses will today be deeply disappointed that their bank has chosen to withdraw from their community and no longer provide them with the access to banking services which we all deserve."

Last year, RBS avoided the compulsory sale of Williams & Glyn, which had been ordered by regulators as part of the bank's obligations under state aid rules, following its £45 billion Government bailout at the height of the financial crisis.

Instead RBS will put up money to be shared among so-called "challenger banks" to help them better compete with bigger players.

The closures will come as RBS reintegrates Williams & Glyn, including its branch network, back into the core bank.

The bank also claims branch transactions have dropped by 30 per cent, compared to a 53 per cent increase in mobile banking.