Edinburgh-based RBS said the positions would be axed over the next two years as part of plans to restructure its retail head office functions in the UK. It said "customer-facing" staff would not be affected.
The beleaguered bank, 81% owned by the state, has already slashed thousands of jobs since it was rescued at the height of the financial crisis. More than 40% of staff affected are based in Edinburgh and the vast majority of the remainder in London, with some in smaller centres such as Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol.
Around 700 staff across the country are being told that their jobs were under threat, in the first phase of the cuts. The changes affect support staff for the bank's retail arm including those working in communications, marketing and customer analytics.
RBS says it is refocusing resources on "things that matter most" to customers with branch refurbishments and investment in mobile and online services.
Dominic Hook of the Unite union said: "This is brutal and irresponsible behaviour from RBS which is almost entirely owned by the taxpayer. It is high time that the banks took social responsibilities seriously." He said that with the bank returning to profit after it made £826 million in the first quarter of the year, there was no business case "for cutting jobs so drastically".
"Regrettably, we can only do that by restructuring the way we work in head office so that every effort is concentrated on supporting our customers and the frontline staff that serve them.
"This is clearly difficult news for our staff and we will do everything we can to support them, including seeking redeployment opportunities wherever possible to ensure compulsory redundancies are a last resort."
Chairman Sir Philip Hampton warned earlier this week at the company's annual general meeting that changes were needed to put the business "in the right shape" which could mean "further impacts on employees".
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