Starling Bank looks to Irish banking licence for European expansion
UK challenger Starling Bank has concrete plans on a European expansion via an Irish banking licence, its CEO Anne Boden has revealed.
Speaking to IBS Intelligence, Boden says that the bank is “working on a process to get an Irish banking licence” and that it would be looking into the creation of a European centre in Dublin.
The challenger has been eyeing up the Emerald Isle for some time. It was reported back in March 2019 by the Irish Times that Boden’s firm was planning a 2019 launch and had lodged an application with the Central Bank of Ireland for a licence.
Boden wrote a blog post that same year that the bank was in “discussions” with the central bank towards that end.
She told IBS Intelligence that Starling Bank would aim to passport into other European countries once its presence in Ireland was confirmed. Boden added that the timeline was likely to be in years, rather than months.
Also confirmed in the interview were multi-currency accounts, and a feature linking small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with the UK’s VAT returns service.
Starling Bank is coming off the back of a £60 million funding round led by Merian Global Investors and JTC, which brought its total funding to date to £323 million.
Having acquired around 1.25 million retail and business accounts since it was founded in May 2017, Starling now holds more than £1.25 billion in deposits. In the year to 30 November 2018, the challenger had made a loss before tax of £26.8 million.
Starling expects to break even in 2021 and is looking into a 2022 float on the stock exchange.
In February it partnered with peer-to-peer (P2P) lending firm Zopa to boost its balance sheet with consumer loans.
The deal may not last in perpetuity as Starling Bank has plans to build a proprietary lending platform.