Tuesday, May 1, 2018

News: RBS to close Rotherham branch

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The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) is set to close its branch inside the historic bank building on the High Street in Rotherham town centre.

RBS in England & Wales and NatWest retail banking business in Scotland was due to be divested and Rothbiz reported in 2013 that it would be launched as a separate "challenger bank", under the brand name, Williams & Glyn.

This year however, the taxpayer-backed RBS group has decided that NatWest should become its primary customer facing brand in England and Wales and Royal Bank of Scotland its core brand in Scotland.

Now a further 162 branch closures have been announced, including the Rotherham branch in November and the Wickersley branch in August. It is not clear what will happen to the Swallownest branch which was set to become part of Williams & Glyn.

The news follows on from an announcement in December to close 62 Royal Bank of Scotland branches, and 197 NatWest branches, including the branch in Dinnington. NatWest announced that it would close its Corporation Street branch in Rotherham town centre in 2014 with the alternative branch on Effingham Street remaining open and refurbished.

The Corporation Street branch building has remained empty since closing.

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An RBS spokesperson said: "We are no longer launching Williams & Glyn as a challenger bank, and we now have two branch networks operating in close proximity to each other; NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland, in England & Wales. As a result we have had to review our overall branch footprint in England and Wales and we've made the difficult decision to close a number of Royal Bank of Scotland branches. Customers of Royal Bank of Scotland in England & Wales will be able to use NatWest branches instead for their everyday banking needs.

"Furthermore, the way customers bank with us has changed radically over the last few years. Since 2014, branch transactions across Royal Bank of Scotland in England & Wales are down 30%. During this same period, there has been a 53% increase in the number of customers using mobile banking and mobile transactions have increased by 74%. We now provide our customers with more ways to bank with us than ever before – customers can choose from a range of digital, face-to-face and local options to suit their needs.

"We expect these branch closures to result in around 792 roles being made redundant. We realise this is difficult news for our colleagues and we are doing everything we can to support those affected. We will ensure compulsory redundancies are kept to an absolute minimum."

A key building at the foot of Rotherham High Street, the Rotherham branch has its history in the Sheffield & Rotherham Joint Stock Banking Co Ltd which was a past constituent of RBS. The bank was established in 1792 by famous Rotherham steelmakers, the Walker brothers; along with Vincent Eyre, agent of the Duke of Norfolk (the principal landowner in the area); and William Stanley, a local businessman described as a "gentleman well-known and much respected at Rotherham."

The bank renamed Walkers & Stanley in 1829 and in 1836 the business was sold for £27,000 to a new joint-stock company, Sheffield & Rotherham Joint Stock Banking Co. The bank grew rapidly but the business was not without problems. Major accounting deficiencies were discovered during the 1840s and bad debts soared during the local commercial depression of the late 1870s.

In 1907, with a paid-up capital of £256,000, the bank was acquired by Williams Deacon's Bank Ltd of London and Manchester. This was later acquired by RBS and amalgamated with other acquired networks to form Williams & Glyn's Bank in 1970.

The Grade II listed building was built in 1892 possibly on the site of the "OLD BANK / FOUNDED 1792" as the sign above the doorway reads. The impressive building is notable for its polished granite columns.

RBS website

Images: Google Maps / Rotherham Archives

2 comments:

Anonymous,  May 2, 2018 at 9:54 AM  

That will make a fantastic pub,weatherspoons?

Rod Laughton May 2, 2018 at 5:15 PM  

It would make sense for NatWest to move here from its pathetic branch in Effingham Street (which it still calls “Rotherham Markets” when it’s actually now just “Rotherham” branch). I detest going to NatWest now after having an account at Corporation Street for over 30 years.

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