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Mettle CEO exits to join blockchain foundation

Mettle, launched in 2019, has seen a fourfold jump in customer numbers in 2021 says Natwest, which has shut down its sister brands Bó and Esme Loans.

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Marieke Flament/Circle.

The chief executive of NatWest's digital bank for businesses has departed after two and half years to join a blockchain foundation based in Switzerland as CEO.

Marieke Flament has left Mettle, the “flanker” bank from NatWest and built by the bank-builders at 11:FS.

Mettle launched in November 2019 as a digital-only offering for business banking customers.

NatWest has axed Mettle’s equivalent for consumer customers Bó in May 2020, after it attracted just 11,000 users since its launch in November 2019.

Earlier this year, it also shut its online small business lending platform Esme Loans.

Flament is joining the non-profit organisation NEAR Foundation that oversees the development of its NEAR blockchain.

The NEAR blockchain is backed by VCs including A16Z, Pantera Capital, and Electric Capital.

To date, NEAR says it has processed more than 50m transactions, across more than 1.7m accounts.

Flament is being replaced by Andrew Ellis, who heads up NatWest’s Ventures portfolio, the bank said.

A spokesperson for NatWest said that Mettle in 2021 has seen a fourfold increase in customer numbers, fivefold increase in deposit volumes and £1bn in customer transactions compared to 2020.

Prior to NatWest Flament worked as European managing director at Circle, the US crypto outfit which allows individuals and institutions to trade and make payments using cryptocurrencies.

Flament will join NEAR on 1 January.

A NatWest spokesperson said: “Marieke Flament left her role at the end of November to take up an external appointment in Europe. We have worked to ensure a smooth and orderly transition of Marieke’s responsibilities to Andrew Ellis, who is currently running Mettle in addition to his responsibility for our overall Ventures portfolio.”

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