Last month the Royal Bank of Scotland revealed that it had lost quite a bit of money in 2013. And when I say “quite a bit”, I mean £8.2 billion.
That’s a catastrophic result for any business, least of all one that is still being propped up by the taxpayer, and is regularly cited as being the least-trusted bank in surveys of public opinion.
RBS can’t sustain losses like that. Things have to change - and fast.
Like me, I’m sure you’ll know at least one person working at the bank. It remains a major employer across the UK. One friend, an employee for several years, tells me job losses are the only topic of conversation in their office.
The company has yet to spell out how many staff will be let go, but it seems inevitable that many will be heading for exits.
In the meantime, RBS chief executive Ross McEwan has explained his vision of the bank’s future.
He’s pledged to reduce its international and investment operations, and will instead concentrate on retail banking.
RBS will focus on getting the “basics of everyday banking right”.
Now, I would imagine that the “basics” would involve supporting the traditional high street bank branch.
But instead it appears RBS plans to close as many branches as it thinks it can get away with without causing too much public criticism.
Last week, RBS customers in Bonnybridge received letters informing them their local branch would be closing in June. Where next?
RBS customers should be asking how their bank can possibly get “back to basics” when it appears to be sprinting away from the High Street.
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