ROYAL Bank of Scotland is to close half its Edinburgh branches in the latest round of cost-cutting - with more misery to come.
The bank - still over 70 per cent owned by the taxpayer following the 2008 bail-out - announced nine branches in the Capital will close in May and June next year. They are at Blenheim Place, Castle Street, Chesser, Comiston, Davidson Mains, Gilmerton, Juniper Green, Portobello and Edinburgh University.
It means the number of RBS branches in the Capital will be cut from 17 to just eight.
The Unite union voiced “bitter disappointment” at the closures which it said would affect 116 staff and could mean 45 job losses.
The closures are not related to yesterday’s news that RBS had failed Bank of England “stress tests” to see if it could withstand another 2008-style crisis. It has now been ordered to find £2 billion to boost its finances, raising the prospect of more job losses.
Unite regional officer Lyn Turner accused RBS of continuing a “slash and burn” approach to community branches.
He said: “This is obviously further bad news for RBS staff – all of whom are now living with the daily fear that their job might be next – but it’s also bad news for customers. RBS isn’t being upfront and honest about the changes it wants to make – but spreading them out in way that risks a death by a thousand cuts.
“Our fear is that management are gambling with the future of the bank. If RBS continues to turn its back on customers and communities, then customers and communities may end up turning their back on them.”
RBS said there had been a decline in transactions at the branches affected.
A spokesman said: “The way people choose to bank with us has changed radically over the last few years. Between 2010 and 2015, mobile and online transactions have increased by over 400 per cent and mobile transactions alone have increased by 1350 per cent.”