In January of this year the RBS's subsidiary, Ulster Bank Limited, announced that it would be closing twenty two branches and sub-offices and that eight hundred and fifty jobs would disappear.
The boom and bust of the Irish property market, both North and South has seen the Bank nursing huge losses. The most recent accounts disclosed a loss of over £1billion pounds for the year.
In the light of the Chancellor's recent pronouncements one cannot help wondering whether there was any political pressure behind the further cuts announced by the Bank today. An additional thirty nine branches are to close by the end of 2014 and it seems that a further eighteen hundred jobs may go. Taking the January cuts into account the Bank presently has two hundred and fourteen branches of which one hundred and thirty five are in the Republic of Ireland. It seems that the cuts announced today are to be to the rural branch network. The Bank wants to concentrate on urban areas and Internet banking. Yet another blow to small towns and villages. These Branches were not of course the source of the losses that are now pressing down on the Bank. A fair result?