NatWest spins Mettle tech into banking-as-a-service venture
NatWest digital SME bank Mettle has broken new ground in its partnership with Polish fintech firm Vodeno.
NatWest is transferring core technology and staff from its digital small and medium-sized enterprise bank, Mettle, into a new UK-focused partnership with Vodeno, a pan-European banking-as-a-service firm majority owned by Warburg Pincus.
Amid a more circumspect fintech funding market, NatWest is making a capped commitment of £115 million into the new partnership, aiming to break even within five years. It is also investing €58 million in Vodeno, which will in turn own 18% of the joint venture.
This is very unique: having a very modern IT architecture yet adjusted to the needs of a big incumbent
Andrew Ellis, Mettle’s chief executive, will become CEO of the new joint venture. He tells Euromoney that indirect joint ownership by US private equity company Warburg Pincus brings external strategic validation and steering.
He adds that embedded financial services, including from non-financial businesses using banking-as-a-service (BaaS), is a central element of NatWest’s group strategy.
“Even beyond the cost-of-living crisis, there’s a secular trend around consumers wanting banking services where they are, while other business – like retailers – are going to find new revenue streams attractive,” Ellis says.