Royal Bank of Scotland is planning to close almost 160 RBS and NatWest bank branches throughout the UK, putting hundreds of jobs at risk.
RBS, still more than 70% owned by the UK government following a bail out, said the job cuts and branch closures were due to more and more customers banking online.
The bank said in a statement it plans to close about 128 NatWest and 30 Royal Bank of Scotland branches.
“As customers change the way they bank with us, we must change the way we serve them,” RBS said in a statement.
“While the branch will still be a core part of our offering to customers, inevitably some branches will have to close.”
The union Unite said 472 full-time equivalent jobs were now at risk.
Unite acting general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “The RBS Group is turning its back on the communities that have been the foundation of its business for generations.
“That’s bad news for our members who now have to live with the threat of redundancy – and it’s bad news for customers and businesses.
“Banks have a duty to the wider community and that is especially the case for banks like RBS that have large taxpayer-owned shareholdings.
“People like the face-to-face contact that having a physical presence in the high street provides.
“Pensioners, people with mobility issues, and those without internet access are being particularly hard-hit – especially in rural areas.
“Small businesses are also badly affected – especially those that rely on cash-handing.
“It’s time for banking regulators and government to intervene, to force banks to maintain an adequate network that properly serves communities across the UK.”