Royal Bank of Scotland to shut 44 branches

Wed Apr 2, 2014 6:39pm EDT

A logo of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is reflected in the window of a branch office in London November 1, 2013. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

A logo of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is reflected in the window of a branch office in London November 1, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

(Reuters) - Part-nationalized Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) said on Wednesday it will close 44 branches, of which 14 are classed as "Last Banks in Town", in the UK and Scotland.

An RBS spokesperson said there has been a 30 percent drop in branch transactions since 2010 as banking has changed significantly over the last few years as more and more customers are banking where and when it is convenient for them.

"Many branches classed as 'Last Bank in Town' are only open for a few hours a week and only see one or two customers per hour," the spokesperson said.

"We have to adapt to what our customers want, which is why we are 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," the spokesperson said.

RBS in February said it planned to cut costs by 5.3 billion pounds, or 40 percent, over the next three to four years, with 3.1 billion of that coming from the sale of businesses such as its U.S. retail franchise Citizens and the rest from cutting overheads.

The bank's new chief executive, Ross McEwan, is looking to simplify the bank further by cutting its divisions from seven to three, reducing investment banking and shrinking its hundreds of committees.

The Edinburgh-headquartered bank has around 2,000 branches in total, of which 314 would become branches of Williams & Glyn, which is due to formally split from RBS in 2015.

(Reporting by Aashika Jain in Bangalore; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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