THE Royal Bank of Scotland is to close four offices in the Capital and move thousands of staff out to its headquarters at Gogarburn.
The closures will affect the Dundas Street and Fettes Row site, where an estimated 2000 employees are currently based; the Younger building at Edinburgh Park; an annexe behind the old RBS headquarters building in St Andrew Square; and the Gemini building on the other side of St Andrew Square.
No job losses are planned as part of the relocation.
The bank said the moves, due to take place in stages over the next 18 months, would see the number of staff at Gogarburn double from the current 3000 to around 6000.
The shake-up, due to be completed by the start of 2017, is intended to save around £18 million a year. All the properties except for the Gemini building are owned by RBS.
But the exodus of so many office workers from Dundas Street in particular is expected to have a major effect on local businesses.
Grocery chain owner Franco Margiotta, who has a shop in Dundas Street, said: “This is not welcome news for us, or the string of sandwich bars in our parade of shops. It’s going to be quite devastating.
“These offices have been there as long as I can remember and they have been very much an integral part of the community and the business. They are excellent customers.”
The announcement on staff being transferred to Gogarburn comes after RBS unveiled plans last month to turn the grand office built for Fred Goodwin when he was chief executive into a base for budding entrepreneurs. The former executive wing will be home to an Entrepreneurial Spark business accelerator hub for up to 80 people wanting to start their own business.
An RBS spokeswoman said: “Gogarburn is a fantastic resource that we must make the most of to bring our teams together and better enable our highly-skilled staff to learn from and share best practice with each other. In addition to the significant cost savings these moves will bring, working collectively will be key if we are to achieve our ambition to be the number one bank in the UK for customer service, trust and advocacy.
“We are also opening up Gogarburn to customers and non-customers alike; providing a home for entrepreneurs, creating a centre for technology innovation and providing local communities and charity partners with access to facilities that can help support their growth.”
The UK government owns 64 percent of RBS, following the state rescue 2008. While Chancellor George Osborne announced plans last month to sell £9 billion worth of shares in Lloyds Banking Group, which was also bailed out, it has no immediate plans to start selling its holding in RBS.