NatWest Counters FinTechs With Revamp Of Retail Banking Operation

NatWest Plans Revamp Of Retail Operation Amid Competition From FinTechs

To combat FinTech competitors and bolster revenue during a time of low interest rates, NatWest is working on a revamp of its core retail banking operation, the Financial Times reported.

Some of the modifications will involve increasing the scope of its credit card operations, debuting new investment offerings for less high-wealth individuals and having workers accessible at more times, FT reported, citing unnamed sources. “We’re a consumer business and have to win with consumers to be successful in the long run,” one unnamed source close to the company said.

NatWest runs roughly 16 percent of British personal current accounts. However, it doesn’t have nearly as significant of a portion of the mortgage and unsecured credit markets.

Among the bank’s efforts to attract more consumer clients is to make bankers available for evening video meetings. The company believes that offering the option to have access to live people and working to enhance its digital app will help it compete with digital-only competitors like Starling and Monzo.

Additionally, the firm is working on a new “low-risk” investment offering for people who aren’t getting much return from traditional savings accounts, but aren’t ready for the complex investment offerings provided by its Coutts private banking unit.

The news comes as Virgin Money said in September that it had received the equivalent of $44.7 million from the U.K.’s Capability Innovation Fund, which is part of the Alternative Remedies Package that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) – now NatWest – bankrolled as a condition of getting a government bailout following the global financial crisis.

And in December, Monzo closed a funding round with another 60 million pounds ($80.3 million). At the time, it was reported that the firm had in excess of 4.8 million clients, including more than 60,000 corporate users and more than 100,000 in its paid-for current accounts, Monzo Premium and Monzo Plus.