Royal Bank of Scotland is cutting 443 UK jobs as part of efforts to reduce costs.

The troubled bank said the positions would go from its business loans section, with most of them redeployed in its Indian branch in Mumbai.

The cuts are part of RBS' strategy of slimming down its operations in a bid to return to profitability after nine consecutive years of losses.

"As we become a simpler, smaller, bank, we are making some changes to the way we serve our customers," an RBS spokesman told the Guardian. "Unfortunately, these changes will result in the net reduction of 443 roles in the UK.

"We realise this will be difficult news for staff and we will do everything we can to support those affected, including redeployment into new roles where possible."

The spokesman added that staff in the UK would continue to deal with customers and make decisions on whether to grant loans.

The move is the latest outsourcing of jobs to India by RBS, which is still 72% owned by the taxpayer.

Last year, the bank shifted around 300 investment banking jobs to its operations in Gurgaon, near Delhi, and Chennai in southern India.

The Unite union criticised the move, saying taxpayer-owned RBS had a "moral responsibility" to maintain its UK workforce.

"There has been a drip, drip, drip, cumulative effect so that we estimate that 12,500 people now work for RBS in India," Rob MacGregor, national officer for finance at Unite, was quoted as saying.

"That's interesting for an organisation that owes its existence to the British taxpayer.

"There is no customer business in India; it is just where they can get the jobs they want doing done cheaper."

The government spent £45bn ($57bn) to buy a majority stake in RBS — at 502p a share — during the height of the financial crisis.

The lender has reported nine consecutive years of losses since the bailout and its current share price is at 250p — less than half what taxpayers paid in 2008.