Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS), briefly the largest bank in the world, now still major banking provider with total assets of £730 billion, admitted today that it is facing “increasingly sophisticated and frequent cyberattacks”.
The comments came the same week that Capital One lost control over the sensitive data of over 100 million customers, after being hacked in an attack attributed to a misconfigured web application that was leveraged to raid S3 buckets.
RBS made the remarks in its financial results today, in which, as legally obliged, the bank spelled out its operational and IT resilience risks, which included “third party risks including as a result of outsourcing.”
Neither of the two risks detailed here are unique to RBS, but do pose a sharp reminder of the challenging security environment in which financial services providers find themselves, as attackers increasingly target their infrastructure.
In terms of its financial results, RBS returned an operating profit of £2.7 billion in the first half of 2019, up $869 million on the same period last year.
The bank highlighted £173 million in cost reductions and an ongoing digital transformation drive, including facial recognition-based account opening and a biometric cards pilot, as it shifts from bricks-and-mortar to a more digitally-focussed front-end. (Closing hundreds of branches along the way).
The bank, which is targeting £300 million in cost reductions in 2019, says it now has 6.3 million regular mobile app users in its personal banking arm, with 74 percent of active current account customers being regular digital users.
Digital Sales Soar
Total digital sales volumes increased by 19 percent, representing 48 percent of all sales in the first half of the year; a significant gain. A notable 60 percent of personal unsecured loan sales were via the digital channel; 55 percent of current accounts opened over the same period also via the digital channel.
In its commercial banking division, the Bankline mobile app now has over 12,000 users, up from 2,500 in Q1, of which over 3,500 are daily users, while the bank’s customer support chatbot, Cora, now processes over 7,000 conversations a month.
Work is ongoing to move RBS data centre workloads to the cloud, the bank added.