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Monday 22 April 2019


RBS ‘catching up’ with FinTech challengers

Written by Peter Walker

The Royal Bank of Scotland’s head of operations for digital propositions has claimed the company is “catching up” with digital banking challengers, but has been slowed by having to upgrade legacy systems.

Speaking at the PayExpo conference in London yesterday afternoon, Benjamin Morgan praised digital-only entrants to the sector, stating they are “doing a good job”, especially from a customer satisfaction standpoint.

Asked later to elaborate on those comments, he said: “We’re catching up to the FinTechs… but it takes time to upgrade old systems, FinTechs are just quicker at things like payment processing and are able to make decisions at a pace we can’t match.”

Morgan’s speech tackled how established High Street banks must react to new entrants and remain relevant in an increasingly digital world.

He admitted that RBS had been dealing with challenges other than FinTech disruption in recent years, but stated that it was still pressing ahead with “the biggest branch transformation in history”, which had seen the bank’s estate shrink from 1,900 to 850 bricks and mortar outposts.

While he stopped short of putting a number on the appropriate size of branch network, Morgan said it was still a “clear strategic pillar” for RBS to remain on the High Street.

“We can’t just abandon customers in the wake of digital transformation,” he stated, although: “To hold onto some branches would simply be postponing the inevitable.”

To help ease the blow for more remote communities, RBS has rolled out mobile banking services and community bankers to make regular visits, while 5,000 staff have been trained up to be ‘techsperts’ and ‘techy teas’ have been organised to help increase adoption of digital services.

“We’re training up our frontline staff because it represents a unique opportunity to provide transformative experiences for our customers,” added Morgan, noting that this is something the mobile-only banks miss out on.

Last month, RBS confirmed that it is exploring the launch of a standalone digital bank which will operate under the brand name Bo. The project, which is expected to go live in 2019, is being led by Mark Bailie, the bank’s former chief operations officer.

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