FEATURE3 February 2020

Banking on insight

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Paul Smith, director of customer insight and marketing data for Royal Bank of Scotland Group, wants the bank to look forward rather than back, and is counting on insight to enable that. By Katie McQuater.


Eleven years on from RBS Group’s £45bn taxpayer-funded bailout at the height of the financial crisis, the company is still feeling the effects in terms of its reputation. Last year, then chief executive Ross McEwan said it could take another 10 years to rebuild consumer trust.

When I meet Paul Smith at the bank’s cavernous offices on the outskirts of Edinburgh, change is afoot: a new chief executive is about to take the helm – Alison Rose, who took over from McEwan on 1 November, is the first female CEO of a major UK bank.

Reputation is a continuing issue facing the insight team working for the Royal Bank of Scotland, which is just one of the subsidiaries within the wider RBS Group umbrella. “We can’t change the story, but we can help people understand it – how do we help customers do that?” Smith says.

Smith looks after customer insight and marketing data for everything inside RBS Group’s ‘ring fence’; ...