The banker who spearheaded the launch of RBS’s money saving app Bó is set to leave the bank, plunging the online bank’s future into chaos just weeks after its high-profile debut.
The exit of Mark Bailie, the taxpayer-controlled bank’s former operating chief who was at one point tipped as a successor to former chief executive Ross McEwan, comes as part of a sweeping overhaul that will be announced in February, Sky News reported.
Bó launched at the end of November as an attempt to compete with a wave of banking start-ups including Monzo and Revolut which have attracted millions of customers in recent years. However, sources said there was internal conflict about whether or not it was worthwhile to launch an app that might turn out to be unsuccessful.
Mr Bailie’s departure raises questions over the fate of Bó within RBS. The NatWest owner is understood to have spent more than £100m building the app, which has around 170 employees.
The Telegraph reported last year that Mr Bailie had originally approached Monzo about a deal but baulked at the high price tag. Like Monzo, Bó will break down daily spending to help customers budget and has a bright yellow debit card to rival its competitor’s hot coral one.
Monzo now has a valuation of around £2bn – had RBS swallowed the start-up when it was worth around £100m, it would likely have picked up a bargain.
Les Matheson, the head of RBS’s personal banking division, will also reportedly leave the bank alongside chief marketing officer David Wheldon, who is retiring.
Alison Rose, the new head of RBS, hinted at upcoming job cuts inside the bank when she took over from former chief executive Ross McEwan in November.
Ms Rose said the lender remains “too complex – we have too many processes and are too cumbersome”, adding that “continuing to reduce the bad costs across the bank … will be critical”.
The bank announced in December that Chris Marks, the chief executive of RBS’s investment banking arm NatWest Markets, would step down along with finance chief Richard Place.
The app is currently being promoted through a marketing campaign involving magazine cover wraps and social media influencers on Instagram.
RBS denied last year that it encouraged employees to write fake positive reviews for Bó in the App Store after The Telegraph found that a series of glowing five star reviews were published online before its official release.
A spokesman for RBS did not respond to a request for comment.