RBS division Ulster Bank to cut 1,800 jobs

The Ulster Bank headquarters in central Belfast. Picture: Getty

The Ulster Bank headquarters in central Belfast. Picture: Getty

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Royal Bank of Scotland’s troubled Ulster Bank arm has announced up to another 1,800 job cuts and around 40 branch closures under plans to return it to profit within the next three years.

Ulster will slash its branch network from 214 to between 175 and 185 by the end of 2014, mainly impacting rural branches as it looks to focus on towns and cities.

In a presentation to investors, it said the turnaround plans would “significantly” reduce its workforce, from around 5,800 full-time staff to between 4,000 and 4,500 by 2016.

The job losses come on top of 950 redundancies announced at the start of last year, while its branch network has also reduced by 24 over the past 18 months.

Ulster Bank, which has branches across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, said it was too early to confirm where the job cuts will have an impact.

There has been speculation that Chancellor George Osborne was considering jettisoning loss-making Ulster Bank from RBS to help ready the 81 per cent state-owned group for a return to the private sector.

Ulster Bank has suffered hefty losses as it counts the cost of loans turned sour since the financial crisis.

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