NatWest seeks 550 volunteers for redundancy in latest branch shake-up

NatWest says it is to make around 550 people redundant and close a major London office.

The bank pledged there would be no compulsory redundancies and a “comprehensive” package would be available to those who volunteer to leave their jobs under the offer.

NatWest said no limits or goals had been set on the numbers involved but applications would be reviewed at a regional level to ensure customers continued to receive “best service”.

The group, which recently changed its name from RBS to reflect the larger NatWest business, said it was looking for branch managers, premier banking managers and personal bankers to leave at both the NatWest and RBS brands.

While it did not blame the impact of the coronavirus crisis directly, it did cite a continuing customer shift towards online and mobile services at the expense of branches.

Commenting on the planned job losses, a spokesperson said: “We have to respond to changing customer behaviour and the rising customer demand for digital banking services.

“We have taken the decision to invite applications for voluntary redundancy and will support those colleagues who apply with a comprehensive support package.

“There will be no compulsory redundancy as a result of this announcement.”

UK banks have argued for several years that the pick-up in customer demand for digital banking meant demand for branch services had diminished.

Thousands of branches and tens of thousands of jobs have been lost as a result.

Critics have accused lenders of being only interested in slashing costs, leaving many town and village communities without access to physical banks in the process.

The COVID-19 pandemic will have only further dented customer numbers using branches.

NatWest, which announced last month that 50,000 staff were being asked to continue working from home until 2021, also confirmed on Wednesday it was to leave its Regents House base in London following a review of its property use across the capital.

The office can hold up to 2,500 people.

“Our ways of working had been evolving, even before the coronavirus pandemic”, the spokesperson added.

“We have been reviewing our London property strategy to better reflect how we will work in the future.”

“As a result, we will exit Regents House, and will reconfigure our London remaining properties at 250 Bishopsgate and 440 Strand.”

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