Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is planning to roll out a standalone digital consumer bank in the UK as it seeks to fend off growing competition from fintech challenger banks, such as Monzo and Revolut.

Called Bó (Danish for “to live”), the new challenger bank is expected to be launched in 2019 with Mark Bailie, RBS’s former chief operating officer, in charge.

According to Sky News, which first reported the news, around 100 RBS staff are working on the project and they were briefed about the new name last Thursday.

It is reported that RBS executives aim to migrate one million customers from its NatWest subsidiary to the new mobile-only banking platform, although no customers will be forced to switch.

Although there has been no formal announcement of the initiative, one insider told Sky that Bó is expected to harness artificial intelligence and big data to help customers manage their finances more efficiently.

In a statement RBS said: “As part of the bank’s wider investment in digital and innovation, [the bank] is working on a range of projects to better serve our customers in the era of digital and open-end banking. One of the projects we are looking at is building a separate, digital-only bank for personal customers.”

However, the initiative comes at a time when RBS, along with the UK’s other “big four” retail banks – Barclays, Lloyds and HSBC – are having to deal with the technologically advanced offerings from the likes of Monzo and other digital challenger banks.

Many of these British startups have been raising money this year and will soon be joined by N26, a German fintech group that aims to launch in the UK within the next few weeks.

In addition, Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street investment bank, last week extended its reach into UK retail banking with the launch of Marcus, which offers one of the best saving rates in the country.

RBS was notoriously bailed out by British taxpayers to the tune of £45.5bn during the financial crash of 2008, but earlier this year announced its first annual profit in a decade.

Its development of the new Bó brand is reportedly being seen within RBS as a further sign of the bank’s renewed confidence.

Sourced from Sky News, BBC; additional content by WARC staff