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RBS kicks off wave of digital bank offshoots

Mettle starts digital-bank spawn from leading UK lenders; new IT system to enable more user-friendly design.


Some of Britain’s biggest banks are launching a slew of new standalone online banks, as they experiment with new technology and brands, and try to thwart digital challengers.

Royal Bank of Scotland’s Mettle, launched on November 6, will be one of the first in this trend, focusing on small businesses. Through Mettle, RBS aims to offer mobile phone-based means of managing invoices and expenses, initially targeting micro-enterprises, including busy sole traders.

“Starting from scratch allows us to build a modern current account, with lots of interesting features,” says Andrew Ellis, head of strategy and innovation for commercial and private banking at RBS. “We will help customers look forward and forecast their cash-flow needs.”

RBS is not the only bank trying out something like this.

Santander, according to a source at the bank, is in the early stages of preparing its own separately branded online banking platform for its UK business clients. And HSBC is preparing a new digital-banking platform known as Project Iceberg for business customers, although Euromoney understands it will not have a separate brand.

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