NatWest to cut around 550 roles across branches

Lender NatWest has said it plans to slash its headcount by around 550 at Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest branches, and its premier banking unit.

The company said it had already had sufficient applications so it will not need to make any compulsory redundancies.

Around 550 full-time equivalent roles will be lost across the branches and its premier banking arm, with branch managers, premier banking managers and personal bankers among those affected.

“We have to respond to changing customer behaviour and the rising customer demand for digital banking services,” the bank said in a statement.

“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.”

The company also said it is planning to shut down its Regents House office in London, which has enough room for around 2,500 people.

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

“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.

“As part of these changes, we will be ensuring our buildings will work better for us in the future, creating spaces where colleagues can come together to collaborate and network, once we’re able to do so again.”

Two weeks ago chief executive Alison Rose hinted at change at the company’s offices.

“We’re going to be quite careful and thoughtful about how we bring people back into offices and evolve office space. I think what we’ll see is a bit more of a hybrid working model,” she said on a call with reporters when the bank presented its half-year results.

“Working from home has been a positive for a lot of people… but for others it’s not been a great experience, and we’re very mindful of the wellbeing and mental health issues of being isolated as well.”

Unite national officer Rob MacGregor said: “Tens of thousands of people working for banks have risen to the challenge that the pandemic created. The banks’ response should not be a repeat of the austerity measures that we saw after the financial crisis.”