ROYAL Bank of Scotland is to close 259 branches resulting in 680 job losses after the state-backed lender said more people are choosing to bank online or on mobile.

The bank, still 72 per cent owned by the taxpayer, is the third this week to announce branch closures and job cuts, following Lloyds and Yorkshire Building Society.

NatWest branches in Barnard Castle, Ferryhill, Newton Aycliffe, all County Durham, as well as sites in Peterlee, east Durham, and banks in Richmond, Stokesley, Pickering and Ripon, all North Yorkshire, will close.

Loading article content

The closures will take effect in May and June next year.

Bosses say they hope to mitigate the impact through an agreement with the Post Office, which provides customers with a range of banking services.

A total of 62 RBS branches and 197 NatWest outlets across the country will be closed by mid-2018 as part of the move and 1,000 roles will be affected.

However, RBS hopes to limit the number of redundancies to 680 by redeploying the remaining staff.

An RBS spokesman said: "More and more of our customers are choosing to do their everyday banking online or on mobile.

"Since 2014 the number of customers using our branches across the UK has fallen by 40 per cent and mobile transactions have increased by 73 per cent over the same period.

"Over five million customers now use our mobile banking app and one in five only bank with us digitally."