NatWest has today appointed Julie Ashmore as CEO of its digital overdraft alternative Rapid Cash, as it bids to accelerate growth of its working capital venture throughout 2020.
Ashmore joins NatWest from Growth Street, where she was Commerical Director for the peer to peer fintech lender. Prior to this, Ms Ashmore was Head of SME Lending at HSBC, has over 30 years’ experience working within the SME banking and finance market, and has also run her own consultancy and coaching business.
NatWest launched Rapid Cash to the SME market in 2019, as an overdraft alternative to help growing businesses manage cash flow. It provides businesses with an instant limit of up to £500,000 based on real time integration with accounting software.
In recent months, Rapid Cash has announced integrations with third parties such as accounting platform Xero, and expenses management fintech Soldo. The bank aims to grow partnerships like these across the SME market, in an aim to reach a broader customer base alongside NatWest’s own 1 million business banking customers.
Ms Ashmore said: “I have watched with interest over recent years as the banking and Fintech worlds have come together to transform the SME lending market, by developing innovative alternatives through accessible and intuitive digital channels. I’m thrilled to be joining NatWest to lead the team at such an exciting time, and I am looking forward to working with our people and customers to make Rapid Cash the leading proposition of its kind for UK businesses.”
Outside the corporate world, Ms Ashmore is also a keen adventurer, who has skied to both North and South Poles, and sailed across the Atlantic in the Clipper Round the World yacht race, saying: “I’ve found that many of the lessons I’ve learned tackling challenges in the great outdoors can be applied in the corporate world too, so I’m hoping to bring some of that experience to Rapid Cash!”
Commenting on Ms Ashmore’s appointment, Andy Ellis, Head of NatWest Ventures said: “Following a year where we were delighted to see Rapid Cash launched to the SME market, in 2020 we aim to accelerate our progress, in turn helping more SMEs grow. To that end, we’re really pleased to have appointed Julie to lead Rapid Cash and are looking forward to watching the business flourish under her leadership.”