LENDER NatWest has said it plans to slash its headcount by around 550 at Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest branches, and its premier banking unit.

The company said it had already had sufficient applications so it will not need to make any compulsory redundancies.

Around 550 full-time equivalent roles will be lost across the branches and its premier banking arm, with branch managers, premier banking managers and personal bankers among those affected.

“We have to respond to changing customer behaviour and the rising customer demand for digital banking services,” the bank said in a statement.

“We have taken the decision to invite applications for voluntary redundancy.

“There will be no compulsory redundancy as a result of this announcement.”

Unite national officer Rob MacGregor said: “Tens of thousands of people working for banks have risen to the challenge that the pandemic created.

“The banks’ response should not be a repeat of the austerity measures that we saw after the financial crisis.”