Starling withdraws Irish banking license application in expansion rethink

UK challenger Starling Bank has withdrawn its application for a banking license in Ireland in a rethink of its global expansion strategy.

The company has already completed the first stage of its license application with the Central Bank of Ireland, but noted that the move was “not the first step”.

Starling says it will instead focus on “complementary projects,” delivering its software to banks through its software-as-a-service (SaaS) affiliate Engine.

The company also aims to expand its lending across asset classes, including through targeted mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

Starling says operating a retail bank in Ireland to access other European Union (EU) markets was a goal for the company.

However, this strategy was put on hold during the Covid-19 pandemic but was later revived with a proposal for banking as a service (BaaS) for EU customers.

Anne Boden, CEO, and founder of Starling says: “It’s been hard to do, especially since we’ve been following Ireland for so long. Sometimes changing direction is the best decision.

“My role as CEO is to constantly test our thinking against a changing environment and ensure that we deliver value and deliver growth potential.

“Ultimately, we felt another Irish company didn’t offer the value we wanted.”

In April, Starling closed $13.5 million in internal funding for an initial capitalization of more than $2.5 billion.

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