RBS ENLISTS NEOBANK STARLING FOR DIGITAL BANK AMBITION: Royal Bank of Scotland, one of the UK’s major lenders, has recruited neobank Starling to help it build a stand-alone digital bank, reports The Times. According to a shareholder letter from the challenger bank’s chief executive, Anne Boden, Starling has signed a deal that will see it provide payment services to assist new digital initiatives at RBS and its subsidiary NatWest. While the financial details of the agreement have not been disclosed, The Sunday Times believes the deal is for RBS’ new digital platform, which is currently under development. Starling has grown significantly over the past year, with 210,000 current accounts now active. Although this is significantly lower than neobank competitors Revolut and Monzo, it represents an almost four-fold increase from November 2017, when membership stood at 43,000. And, whereas 45% of Monzo users deposit £500 ($645) or more per month, Starling claims that average deposits across its current accounts is almost double that at £900 ($1,162). Having reported pre-tax losses of £11.6 million ($15 million) for the year ended November 2017, the partnership with RBS should help Starling improve its margins by enabling it to serve a much wider base. RBS’ move to partner with Starling is also a promising strategy, as it will enable the incumbent to tap into the neobank’s technological prowess.


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