NatWest announces it will close a Portsmouth branch

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Banks in Hawick, Selkirk, Jedburgh, Duns, Eyemouth and Melrose are due to shut in the next 6 months.

Approximately 680 jobs will be cut, according to RBS.

Hawick residents will now face a 40 mile round trip to visit their bank and those living in Duns will have to travel 30 miles to Berwick and back.

The Laughton Road bank is one of 197 NatWest branches earmarked for closure by RBS, which will also slash 62 Royal Bank of Scotland branches.

RBS said 1,000 staff had been told their jobs were at risk but that it expects many to be redeployed resulting in a total job loss figure of 680.

"NatWest have pointed to declining numbers using the branch and say that is a key reason for choosing to close the Skelmersdale branch".

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NatWest spokesperson Kate Visser said: "Since 2012 we have seen the way in which people use NatWest Gainsborough branch change dramatically, with now 86 per cent of customers already banking in other ways locally".

"Since 2014 the number of customers using our branches across the United Kingdom has fallen by 40 per cent and mobile transactions have increased by 73 per cent over the same period. Now serious questions need to be asked about whether these closures mark the end of branch network banking", said Unite's Rob MacGregor.

But the trend has prompted fears for communities being left without a bank in their town and those unfamiliar with the developments of the digital age being cut adrift.

Scotland's Business Minister Paul Wheelhouse said the latest announcement was "hugely concerning" and that the worst-hit customers would be "the most vulnerable members of society, for many of whom going into a branch is the only feasible way to conduct their banking".

Last week, the Government disclosed 2018/19 plans to sell around two-thirds of its RBS stake, which would equate to about £15bn over five years. And the measures seem to be working It reported a stronger-than-expected operating profit for the third quarter, And hopes to return to profit next year for the first time since 2007 Although that depends on when it reaches a multi-billion pound settlement with the US over mis-selling of toxic mortgage backed securities.