U.K.’s Royal Bank of Scotland is trimming 600 jobs at retail bank Natwest and closing 32 branches, trade union Unite reportedly said Thursday. The latest round of downsizing would bring the bank’s tally of staff reductions to 1,500 jobs this year, Reuters reported.
Thursday’s cuts are occurring in branches in northern, southeastern or eastern England, the Midlands or London. Most of the cuts are from the retail division where the bank had announced plans to axe about one in every 12 jobs earlier.
The bank is also closing about 34 branches and reducing opening hours in hundreds as part of the aggressive cost-cutting plan.
"This is clearly difficult news for staff," the bank reportedly said in a statement. "We will do everything we can to support them, including seeking redeployment opportunities wherever possible."
The bank, which came close to collapse at the height of the financial crisis in 2008, is 73 percent owned by the U.K. government as a result of a bailout during the crisis. In February, RBS announced pretax losses of 1.98 billion pounds ($2.80 billion) in 2015 — the eighth year in a row that it has made a loss.
Along with its efforts to cut costs, the bank also said it is shutting branches as more people bank online.
“Banking has changed significantly over the last few years and the way our customers want to interact with us is also changing," a spokesperson for Natwest told local media, adding: “We have to continually adapt to meet our customers’ needs and to ensure we remain viable and relevant both now and in the future.”