Monzo appoints Carol Kobuke Nelson as new US president and CEO
Monzo has appointed Carol Kobuke Nelson, one of the bank’s strategic advisors for the past year, as its new US president and CEO.
With TS Anil moving from US to UK CEO last year, a vacancy opened up for a new stateside boss at the UK challenger.
Nelson previously served as a top executive for more than four years at Cleveland-based KeyBank.
She’s also advised Washington state’s revenue department, and held executive positions at health insurance provider Premera Blue Cross, Cascade Bank and Opus Bank.
Her longest tenure, which spun over 23 years, was at Bank of America where she served as a vice president.
Monzo’s US play
Monzo began its US expansion plans back in January 2019, and has since applied for a US banking licence. On her LinkedIn profile, Nelson says for the past year she “served as a strategic advisor to Monzo in its application for a national bank charter for Monzo Bank USA, N.A. with the OCC [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency]”.
If Monzo’s application – filed in April 2020 – goes through, it would be able to offer Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)-insured deposit accounts and offer loans to US customers.
US challenger bank Chime, which has more than eight million customers, currently partners with FDIC-insured Bancorp Bank and does not have its own bank charter. If Monzo secures one first, this could give it an edge.
The current US team houses just ten people, according to TechCrunch. This follows the challenger’s decision to shutter its Las Vegas office last year after COVID-19 took a toll on the digital bank’s operations.
It has some 20,000 sign-ups on its US waitlist, and post-pandemic, Monzo plans to open up its new US office in San Francisco, rather than re-opening in Las Vegas.
Nelson joins at a pivotal time for the challenger. Towards the end of January, it said goodbye to its founder, Tom Blomfield. His exit, which came into effect last month, followed Blomfield’s decision to move roles in May, from CEO to president.
Monzo confirmed last week it’s raising £50 million in an extension of its Series G. Alongside existing investors, a new San Francisco-based venture firm, Octahedron Capital, also joined the round.
Its valuation post-funding remained at £1.25 billion, the valuation it rested on after a “down round” in midst of COVID-19 last year knocked off 40% of its value.
So far, the UK challenger bank has raised £175 million during the pandemic. It is also nearing five million customers, currently boasting some 4.99 million. The start-up claims to serve some 70,000 business customers, more than doubling since last June.
It still says more than 100,000 customers use its paid-for current accounts, Monzo Plus and Monzo Premium – though this figure hasn’t changed for some months now.