Part-nationalized British lender Royal Bank of Scotland said it could shed up to 9,000 jobs over the next 2 years, including 4,500 in the UK, as part of a shake-up of its back-office operations.

The actual number of job losses is expected be significantly lower than this, and compulsory redundancies will be used only as a last resort, RBS said on Tuesday.

We have set a new strategy for RBS to restore the bank to standalone strength as soon as practicable, RBS Chief Executive Stephen Hester said in a statement.

To do so we need to cut our costs, as in all businesses, given the current recession.

RBS shares were down 6.7 percent at 27.8 pence at 1215 GMT (8:15 a.m. EDT), while the FTSE 100 share index was 1.9 percent lower.

(reporting by Myles Neligan; Editing by Julie Crust)