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RBS reopening bank branch under NatWest brand

NatWest George St

Back in business: the branch in George St (pic: Terry Murden)

Royal Bank of Scotland, which has closed hundreds of branches across the UK, is reopening a former branch in central Edinburgh – under the NatWest brand.

RBS closed 1,094 branches between January 2015 and August 2019, including the outlet in the capital’s George Street, one of 158 to shut in Scotland.

This weekend work began on converting it back into a branch with the NatWest signage. RBS confirmed it was a replacement for the former branch further down the road in offices which have been refurbished.

RBS Group closed RBS branches in England and Wales because it allowed customers of that brand to bank in a local NatWest branch. In many cases both brands were represented in a high street when there was only a need for one.

However, this has not been a factor in Scotland where NatWest has only three branches in the entire country.

Work was halted on Sunday after health and safety offices intervened over the noise being generated.

According to a report published by UK Finance, the trade body that represents banks, 71% of adults used online banking in 2017, representing 38 million people. 

Almost 22 million people used mobile banking apps and made 5.5bn logins to apps in 2018. 

The average branch received 104 visits a day in 2017, compared to 140 per day in 2012. This represents a 26% fall in bank branch visits.

Many personal and small business customers, who either do not want to or cannot engage with the digital revolution, continue to rely on branches.

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