Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

The AAR Fightback podcast: Innovation drives NatWest’s creation of a startup-style culture

New Digital Age has proudly partnered with the AAR for the launch of its Fightback podcast.

Robin Charney is director of digital and innovation at AAR, and host of the Fightback podcast.

The first question I asked Jeremy Smith of NatWest Ventures for this edition of the Fightback podcast was who he sees coming for his customers. His answer was simple: everyone!

Fightback is a series of conversations where I talk to the people charged with transforming the UK’s heritage brands from the inside and get them to share their challenges, experiences and insights.

Banking must be one of the UK’s most turbulent sectors at the moment. Not only are the tech giants muscling into the space like Apple is with Apple Card, there’s also a booming fintech startup scene in London in particular full of companies who see the big banks as ripe for disruption.

That’s a lot for any business to fight back against but, as you’ll hear in the conversation, Jeremy believes all this is creating opportunities for NatWest too, particularly in B2B banking. A great example of this — and one of Jeremy’s proudest achievements so far — is the recent launch of Mettle, a bank account for SMEs that’s not just about transactions, but about how NatWest can use data to predict what they need to run their business better.

Another of NatWest’s recent ventures is called Esme and is reinventing business loans.

Our conversation also covers why NatWest decided to take the innovation team out of the main business, allowing it to build a startup-style culture that attracts staff with a growth mindset.

And we talk about the bank’s unique venture model and the vital role of its senior sponsor. I think there’s something in it for everyone involved in innovation.

Click below to listen on iTunes or Spotify.