World News

NatWest presses ahead with more job cuts in face of coronavirus crisis

By Lawrence White and Iain Withers

LONDON (Reuters) – British state-backed lender NatWest <RBS.L> is pressing ahead with further job cuts, axing more than 30 jobs in its digital ventures arm despite rivals halting redundancies during the coronavirus crisis.

A redundancy consultation with staff working for NatWest-owned venture Aptimise – an online tool designed to help accountants – was completed last week resulting in all its staff being laid off, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Staff affected have not been furloughed under a government scheme to protect pay even where people have been made redundant, the source added.

NatWest is separately pressing ahead with cutting around 130 jobs in its loss-making investment banking unit NatWest Markets.

Rivals including Barclays <BARC.L> and Standard Chartered <STAN.L> have paused redundancies during the virus outbreak.

HSBC <HSBA.L> has also said it will halt the vast majority of redundancies, although some senior roles had been cut, Reuters reported on Monday.

A NatWest spokesman said staff were told about the decision to close Aptimise at the end of February.

“Our pipeline of digital innovations is regularly evaluated to ensure customer adoption is proceeding at pace, and inevitably there will be instances when unfortunately, this isn’t the case,” the spokesman added.

(Reporting by Lawrence White and Iain Withers; editing by David Evans)