Bó (Natwest/RBS challenger brand) chat

Yes I’ll admit I made a leap with Pingit, but it’s articles such as this that give the impression ‘legacy [code]’ banking can’t creak on much longer.

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I think it’s more the backend systems that need upgrading but that is not a simple thing to do when it’s in constant use. So it’s easier to build a new backend for a separate bank and then move everyone to it once it’s a viable replacement.


I worked in legacy for a short time and the back end systems are archaic at best… I have seen curve’s systems a little and read up on starling systems and they are 100x ahead of where HSBC were at when I was there.

I think I read somewhere that you worked in HSBC CoOps for a bit so you may not have seen all their backend but it’s a mistake to assume all the legacy banks in the UK are all running really old code - they are not.

HSBC, for instance, were introducing a new standard platform globally as far back as 2008 - So they could rollout upgrades every few years on a rolling basis and minimise the level of customised code/systems needed for each country.

Some interesting stats in the presentation below from 2008 (so dated now) but slide 11 gives an idea of what their systems were like before this. Slide 15 also gives an idea of the level of resources that legacy firms can throw at IT issues and their resources will have increased over the last decade…


Of course they are not alone - Santander and TSB (where it all went wrong!) come to mind.

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That’s interesting. Explains why there global account proposition is so far ahead of everyone else too.

From my experience with NatWest though they would probably be better starting from scratch anyway :smile:

For a more modern take on how Fintech is affecting HSBC UK one can look at slides 53-55 and 60-65 in https://www.hsbc.com/-/files/hsbc/investors/investing-in-hsbc/investor-events-and-presentations/2019/190611-hsbc-uk-investor-seminar.pdf from a few months ago

They are obviously spending a lot on technology (2019: £600 million) just in the UK alone of which most is going on new functionality - what they mention on one of the slides is due in 2019/20.

On Natwest, while their apps are ok, I agree their backend needs a lot of work.

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tbf before I left HSBC was going through major overhaul but yeh I just think they need to make bigger jumps to catch up on legacy maybe HSBC will do it.

I still dip into the app and website for HSBC - both show no obvious differences in the last year or two except cheque imaging in the app

My last experience with them before moving to Starling was a staff member and branch manager lying to me (it felt) about something I had read on their own website, confirmed later by Twitter. They need to be working on that sort of thing alongside any tech!

This was more what I meant. Lowering an overdraft limit required a new application and a hard credit check!

It looks like HSBC and RBS are taking different approaches, though at least for now HSBC’s looks more thoroughly thought out.

The HSBC bank end I think works really well. No matter what country website or app you log into, you’ll be presented with all of your global accounts if you choose to link them and can transfer between them very simply. Real time notifications work excellently where they’re enabled too.

They used to have a single worldwide app, similar to how Monzo is in the USA, but phased that out in favour of country specific apps which were fully localised and worked a lot better in their local environments. I know Monzo’s US accounts have some terminology and instructions which don’t work in the US banking landscape for example.

I share your pain brother! :hugs:

Where are you getting this “BO Bó” name from?!

Ah, they meant just “Bó”.

Ah, sorry I put both to make the thread searchable, I’ll edit.

Two characters is too short to be searchable anyway.

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Bó has launched then…

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Cheek asked for my d.o.b. and mobile number and told me I’m in the waiting list.

Thought I could smell something…