Bó, the digital bank developed by RBS-owned Natwest, is to shutter, just 6 months after launching publicly.
The incumbent bank’s consumer challenger brand was an attempt to build a startup within a larger bank and in the longer term compete with trendy upstart banking apps, such as Monzo, Revolut, Starling and others.
The initial “attack vector” was something akin to a companion banking app and card, with a focus on budgeting, rather than a fully-fledged salary account, although the original ambition was certainly to go a lot further over time. One more recent plan being considered was to reposition Bó as a banking app for teens, a segment thought to be underserved even amongst digital-first providers.
However, as part of announcing its yearly financials, RBS said it would “wind down Bó as a customer-facing brand,” Yahoo Finance reports.
Instead, the bank plans to focus on Mettle, its small business banking challenger brand, which, I understand, had already begun to assimilate Bó after the two respective teams were moved into the same building.
“The circumstances have changed,” RBS CEO Alison Rose told Yahoo Finance. “We’ve always said that we will look to innovate. Clearly in the current situation we’ve had to make prioritisation choices around where we should invest and what we should do to support our existing customers.”
Bó has around 11,000 customers, who are being given what looks like at least a month or two’s notice before their accounts are to due close.