NATWEST staff and customers are breathing a sigh of relief following confirmation that two key branches will not shut in a new round of closures.

Workers and consumers reliant on the Wanstead and South Woodford branches have been reassured after The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) confirmed they are not among the 197 NatWest branches that will shut across the UK.

A total of 62 RBS branches will also close, taking the total number of branches to 259. The slew of closures will result in around 680 redundancies.

All branches earmarked for closure will shut before June 2018.

An RBS spokesman said branch closures are a response to the way customers have changed the way they bank.

He said: “As customers continue to change the way they bank with us, we must change the way we serve them, so we are investing in our more popular branches and shaping our network, replacing traditional bricks and mortar branches with alternative ways to bank, including; Community Bankers, Mobile Bank on Wheels, and post offices, so that we can reach even more customers.

“We expect these branch closures to result in around 680 redundancies. We realise this is difficult news for our colleagues and we are doing everything we can to support those affected. We will ensure compulsory redundancies are kept to an absolute minimum.”

NatWest branches in Woodford Green and Leytonstone both closed this year. The Leytonstone branch shut in June while the Woodford Green site closed in September.