In banking news, London-based Coutts Bank, one of the world’s oldest banks, is proving an old dog can learn new tricks. With more than 325 years of experience as a banker to “Britain’s rich and famous,” the U.K.’s largest private bank – also known as “Queen’s Bank” – is looking to update both its technology and its business model, Reuters reported Friday (Oct. 13).
Coutts is turning its attention to boosting revenues, selling products and taking on international competition, according to the article. What’s more, Peter Flavel, chief executive officer, is also looking to attract the business of “a younger generation of wealthy Britons, including vloggers, gamers and other entrepreneurs,” without alienating its traditional clients, Reuters reported.
“We don’t want to live in the history or live in the past,” Flavel said. “We need to be modern and contemporary and relevant today. The client base we have here is, of course, what you would expect – the landed estates and the gentry, that traditional wealth – and that’s a big part of what we’ve had as a bank.”
Revamping the Coutts image has been a key element of Flavel’s plans for the institution since joining it 18 months ago. He was hired by The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Coutts’ parent company, to push for “stronger cooperation between the private bank and the universal services offered by RBS,” according to Reuters.
“The bigger part of what we do today is banking entrepreneurs and helping them develop their businesses,” Flavel said. Entrepreneurs make up 80 percent of Coutts’ clients, per the report.
Boasting such illustrious former clients as Charles Dickens and Queen Elizabeth II, Coutts is committed to revamping its image in memorable ways. The bank is adding approximately 1,800 new clients each year, though its RBS wealth management department has seen a 3 percent decline.
“We’re having a bit to think about how we might just be a little different,” he added. “Banks are serious and boring and risk-averse. You can create that little sense of not taking yourself too seriously at – and this is the big one – the appropriate time, because you’re dealing with people’s money.”
Coutts is currently battling competition from international institutions offering private banking in Britain. With a focus on enhancing customer experience, the bank is spending 20 million pounds per year to enhance digital initiatives, such as an online banking and investing platform, Reuters noted.