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RBS Chooses Leader For SMB Digital Bank Mettle

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is pressing forward with its digital-first bank, targeting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), and reports have said the financial institution (FI) has chosen a leader for that initiative.

The Financial Times said on Tuesday (June 18) that RBS picked Marieke Flament, Circle‘s CMO and European managing director, to serve as CEO of the digital bank, Mettle. RBS is the first top U.K. lender to launch a separate digital bank, reports noted, with plans to debut the Mettle app in August.

Mettle — operated by RBS-owned NatWest, and debuted in pilot phase last November — aims to connect entrepreneurs and smaller businesses to manage finances with mobile and digital banking services.

“There is a huge opportunity for disruption in [SMB] digital banking,” Flament said in a statement. “Insight and feedback garnered during the pilot stage have shown that we are in a very strong position to capitalize on this opportunity through Mettle.”

In another statement, RBS CEO of Commercial & Private Banking and Deputy CEO of NatWest Holdings Alison Rose said Flament has a “record of breaking boundaries in the finance sector” and a “knowledge of adapting to a constantly evolving tech landscape.”

RBS is at the heart of U.K. financial services disruption, particularly in the small business banking landscape. In addition to developing its own digital bank for small businesses, RBS has been required by regulators to commit about $1 billion to rival financial service providers in an effort to ramp up competition in the SMB banking industry.

The same day RBS announced its Mettle leader, reports in Independent.ie noted that Irish alternative lending platform Swoop was awarded $6.28 million by the U.K. Banking Competition Remedies, the body that is overseeing the allocation of RBS funds. Swoop operates a platform that connects small businesses to more than 1,000 financing providers, and said in a statement that it will use the RBS grant to onboard 540,000 small businesses in the coming months.

“The future of [SMB] banking is about more than one FinTech, one bank or one source of finance,” said Swoop CEO and Founder Andrea Reynolds. “It is about delivering independent curation of the right service, and the right type and blend of finance, for every [SMB], at the right time.”

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