Royal Bank of Scotland has announced it will close a quarter of its branches and axe nearly 700 jobs in a move that unions claim could signal the end of face-to-face banking.

The decision by the state-backed lender will see a total of 62 RBS branches and 197 NatWest outlets closed by mid-2018, with 1,000 staff affected.

RBS, still 72 per cent owned by the taxpayer, hopes to limit the number of redundancies to 680 by redeploying the remaining staff.

The bank is the third this week to announce branch closures and job cuts, following Lloyds and Yorkshire Building Society.

Justifying the move, an RBS spokesman said: "More and more of our customers are choosing to do their everyday banking online or on mobile.

"Since 2014 the number of customers using our branches across the UK has fallen by 40 per cent and mobile transactions have increased by 73 per cent over the same period.

"Over five million customers now use our mobile banking app and one in five only bank with us digitally."

However, union Unite described the move as a "betrayal" and ripped into the Government for allowing the closures to proceed.

The union's national officer Rob MacGregor also said the move could effectively signal the end of banking in branches.

He added: "The Royal Bank of Scotland has decided to decimate its bank branch network.

"This announcement will forever change the face of banking in this country resulting in over a thousand staff losing their jobs and hundreds of high streets without any banking facilities.

"Why is the Government signing off this alarming branch closure programme?"

RBS insisted it is providing customers with "more ways to bank than ever before".

Last week, the Government also said that it is dusting off plans to re-privatise the lender by offloading around two thirds of its stake, bought at the height of the financial crisis.

At this time it is only Scottish RBS branches that are closing but this could change in the near future.

Here is a list of the Natwest branches to close by the middle of next year that may affect you:



Blackheath & Westcombe Park


Cobham Surrey

East Sheen


South Norwood



Wimbledon Village