NatWest to axe 550 jobs and close its London tech hub

UK lender the NatWest Group has announced that it will cut its headcount by roughly 550 people across the country and to close its London tech hub.

The redundancies are made as part of the bank’s continuing modernisation efforts, which it said it had started long before Covid-19 hit.

“We have to respond to changing customer behaviour and the rising customer demand for digital banking services,” the bank said in a statement seen by Morning Star. “We have taken the decision to invite applications for voluntary redundancy and will support those colleagues who apply with a comprehensive support package. There will be no compulsory redundancy as a result of this announcement.”

As part of the downsizing efforts, the bank will close its Regents Park offices, which houses its FinTech accelerator and can house more than 2,500 people.

NatWest axing employees like this fits into a pattern among banks reducing staff as they attempt to modernise in order to meet consumers’ changing demands.

Deutsche BankHSBC, Commerzbank and TSB Bank are just some of the other banks to have made similar announcements.

NatWest has made several public efforts to update its services over the years, including the adoption of voice-based banking technology and biometrics.

Some of these efforts have not been been that successful though. For instance, it launched its consumer-focused digital bank Bó in November 2019 as an answer to the rise of challenger banks like Revolut, Starling Bank and Monzo.

However, NatWest shut down Bó only a few months later in May after a string of setbacks that included accusations of posting fake reviews, leadership changes and being forced to replace 6,000 cards as they were not complying with the EU’s strong customer authentication (SCA) rules

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