RBS’s Chief Financial Officer says job cuts “inevitable” in digital transformation
Royal Bank of Scotland Group's Chief Financial Officer Ewen Stevenson signalled further job cuts as Britain’s largest government-owned lender accelerates its investment in technology.
“The bank is moving into a different phase,” Stevenson said in a recent interview. The transformation is set to “create a better bank in 2020, a better bank equipped for digitisation,” he said.
Stevenson said that the restructuring costs of £2.5 billion announced last week are in part related to the disposal of properties and “data centers”, which are a legacy of the past. Stevenson didn’t give a target for potential job reductions at the company, which shut 259 branches in December as customers increasingly access their accounts online.
“It’s inevitable that there will be further job cuts, but we are not going to talk publicly about figures,” he said. Full-time employment at the bank fell by 8.5% last year to 71,200 people, according to the lender’s annual report.
The fortunes of the bank are tied to the strength of the British economy, where it earns almost all of its revenue. One of the headwinds for the UK is uncertainty over Brexit, which Stevenson warned that many mid-size companies aren’t fully prepared for.
“We are very focused on what Brexit means for the underlying economic growth in the country,” he said. “Anything that will impact GDP will impact us.”