RBS closes 44 branches as shift to mobile continues

Royal Bank of Scotland is to close 44 branches following a sharp drop-off in in-store transactions, with customers increasingly using mobile devices for banking.

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Royal Bank of Scotland is to close 44 branches following a sharp drop-off in in-store transactions, with customers increasingly using mobile devices for banking.

The bank plans to shut under-used branches throughout the UK, as total footfall in-store has dropped by 30 percent over the past four years. 

A spokesman for RBS said that the increasingly popularity of mobile devices has created a shift in the way customers interact with the bank.

"Banking has changed significantly over the last few years as more and more of our customers are banking with us where and when it is convenient for them,” the spokesperson said. “As a result, there has been a 30% drop in branch transactions since 2010.”

"We have to adapt to what our customers want, which is why we're investing in a range of other ways our customers can bank with us, including online and telephone banking, our mobile app, and in any one of the Post Office's 11,500 branches across the UK."

In its recent annual report RBS stated plans to invest further in digital channels such as mobile, as part of a £700 million investment in improving customer facing systems over the next three years.

The bank saw 2.9 million customers use its mobile app during 2013, and expects that 4 million will be using mobile banking by the end of the year. 

A recent study by the bank showed that one in five customers now bank solely through mobile devices – a 43 percent increase on 2013.

According to RBS, the number of online and mobile transactions have now surpassed the amount made through branches and ATMs.

Barclays also announced last November that it would cut 1,700 frontline staff as its customers increase use of mobile devices and has also announced branch closures.

A study by the British Bankers’ Association this week claimed that the number of mobile banking transactions has doubled in the past 12 months.

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