NatWest creates new COO role for its personal bank division
NatWest has appointed a new chief operation officer (COO) for its personal bank division. Georgina Bulkeley, who has spent 13 years working across RBS and NatWest, will be the firm’s first personal bank COO.
The appointment comes as the bank makes around 550 employees redundant. These redundancies are focused around branch managers, premier banking managers and personal bankers.
At the end of last month, the bank revealed it has set aside another £2.1 billion in case more people and firms default on loans due to the pandemic. That meant the bank ran at a loss of £770 million in the first half of 2020, whilst it made a £2.7 billion profit last year.
Bulkeley is already the director of strategy and innovation for the bank’s personal and business banking arm. She will continue in this role, whilst also heading up commercial planning and pricing for NatWest’s personal banking products.
NatWest also wants her to focus on an “even-closer integration of innovation and new product development”. This is part of the bank’s agenda, launched by CEO Alison Rose in February, which saw it announce cuts to its investment bank.
Rose wants the bank to reduce some of the risk its investment arm holds. She also wants to reduce risk-weighted assets from £38 billion to roughly £20 billion. This move away from investment banking points to renewed pressure on personal and business banking profits.
Les Matheson, NatWest’s personal banking CEO, says Bulkeley’s expanded role will ensure “an even greater level of alignment” between the bank’s innovation pipeline and the resources it allocates to them.
In her 13 years at the bank, Bulkeley set up and led the team responsible for strategic and financial analysis of the – then called – RBS personal and business banks back in 2012.
She then moved to advise on regulatory and compliance issues for the bank’s retail network and business banking arms, before focusing on risk, and then innovation.
Her work in innovation saw the bank become one of the first in the UK to pilot biometric cards. She also oversaw its launch of ‘voice banking’, in partnership with Google.
Before NatWest, Bulkeley spent four years at Goldman Sachs in investment banking. She then spent four years at Standard Life Investments, where she directed structured finance and capital raising.
Her new COO appointment will kick in on 1 September.