RBS mulls mortgage robo advice service, shuts 158 branches

By Moriah Costa on Thursday 23 March 2017

Savings and Investment

The bank is expected to make a decision on its robo advice services by the end of the third quarter amid cost cutting drive.

The Royal Bank of Scotland is testing its robo advice services for mortgage loans and expects to make a decision on whether to roll it out by the end of the third quarter.

The government-owned bank has already cut hundreds of jobs and replaced them with “robo” like advisors, in an attempt to cut costs.

The bank is looking at ways to use robo as help rather than being fully automated, according to FTAdviser.  

“Robo-advice helps us to reduce cost and risk,” Lloyd Cochrane, director of mortgages and protection at RBS, told the paper. “We are in that space and thinking quite deeply about how it is working in practice. By the end of quarter three, we should be able to say whether it will work across the UK.”

Robo advice is the term given to automated wealth management or other similar services. While it’s often associated with start-ups, many larger banks and wealth management firms have embraced the service.

The automated service has grown substantially in the U.S. and UK in the past few years. Consulting firm A.T. Kearney expects the sector to have $2.2tn in assets under management in the U.S. alone by 2020.

RBS has turned to automation as a potential cost-saver as it still struggles to recover from the financial crisis. The bank reported in February that it had £7bn loss in 2016, putting it in the red for the ninth consecutive year. The company has also announced today that it will close 158 branches across the UK in the coming months, according to reports.

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