Natwest, a leading British lender has just launched a new digital bank, Bo, which went live on Google Play and Apple’s App store. The new cloud-based bank was designed to assist people in managing their money—everything from setting savings goals to budgeting—all via Bo’s mobile app. Users even have access to a Bo-issued Visa card.
“As we’re part of NatWest, people can rely on Bo to keep their money safe,” said Mark Bailie, CEO of Bo, in a recent statement. “But as a digital bank—built entirely on a separate cloud-based technology—Bo is also able to harness new technology and develop rapidly in line with our customers’ needs and expectations.”
A subsidiary of RBS, Natwest has some stiff competition with Bo, specifically in the UK with online banking options like Monzo, Transfer-Wise, OakNorth, and Revolut gaining traction in the growing fintech arena. Some are even setting their sites globally, like Monzo, which recently launched in the U.S. and Revolut with recent partnership with MasterCard to also expand into the U.S.
Lenders that consumers trust will win out in the end, yet, there is always the pressure for banks to innovate and cater to consumers’ needs. As UK fintechs continue to grow and gain subscribers, there are still so many within global banking that aren’t investing in innovation, according to recent report by McKinsey. The report found that traditional banks are spending around 35% of their information technology budget on innovation, while fintechs allocate more than 70%.
Natwest recently started experimenting with blockchain technology and partnered with Coadjute, a network of ledger technology that can streamline data sharing within the property industry, to find ways to help make buying a home in the UK seamless.
“I think one thing which remains a truism is customers do have a very high degree of trust when it comes to money, their deposits and their identity with respect to established banks,” said Raman Bhatia, head of HSBC digital for the U.K. and Europe in a recent interview with CNBC. “And banks need to work harder than ever to preserve that trust.”