RBS planning to cut 900 jobs to reduce costs: sources

Tue Jun 21, 2016 6:59am EDT
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By Andrew MacAskill

LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: Quote) is planning to cut about 900 jobs in Britain, sources familiar with the process said, taking the total number of layoffs in the last four months to around 5 percent of the bank's British workforce.

The latest cuts at RBS are in information technology and back office positions that support the commercial, retail and private bank, the sources said.

RBS, which is 73-percent state-owned, is in the midst of a major restructuring aimed at returning the bank to profit after eight straight years of losses. The Edinburgh-based bank was rescued with a 46 billion-pound ($67.82 billion) state bailout during the 2007-09 financial crisis.

The bank confirmed some staff would lose their jobs but declined to give specific numbers, pointing to its long-stated ambition to shrink from the world's biggest bank by assets into a much leaner, UK-focused commercial and retail bank.

"We understand how difficult this is for our staff and will be offering as much support as we can including redeployment to other roles where possible," the bank said in a statement to Reuters.Chief Executive Ross McEwan has already cut thousands of jobs partly in response to low interest rates and slowing economic growth which have pushed RBS and several of its UK rivals to take out costs. RBS had 64,000 staff in Britain as of December 2015.

The RBS staff affected by this latest round of redundancies work in cities across Britain, including London, Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham.

At least 100 jobs are being transferred to India, where people can perform the same role on lower salaries, the sources said.

The latest cuts mean RBS has axed at least 2,700 staff across the country since the beginning of March. Most layoffs have fallen on its branch network, where the bank had earlier announced plans to cut about one in every 10 jobs in 2016.   Continued...

The City of London business district is seen through windows of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) headquarters in London, Britain September 10, 2015.  REUTERS/Toby Melville