Starling Bank overview

Starling Bank is a digital challenger bank that offers current accounts and business banking. It received its banking license in 2016, and reached 1m accounts in 2019.

Starling offers its customers a contactless Mastercard, and a mobile banking app. The app offers notification of transactions, card freezing capabilities, transaction analysis, savings goals, and in-app support services. A key feature of Starling is its Open Banking and Open APIs to its marketplace, which enables customers to easily connect to other financial services such as online investment, mortgages, bill management, credit scores, insurance and more through partners such as Digital Risks, Wealthify and Habito.

The company went into beta and partnered with TransferWise in 2017. It launched its business accounts in in March 2018.

In November 2018 Starling entered into a partnership with the Post Office. The partnership enables Starling users to deposit and withdraw cash through the Post Office's branches.

In February 2019 Starling announced it had launched personal Euro accounts in the UK, ensuring users can send and receive Euros on a regular basis. The move also signified the mobile banks ambitions to grow beyond the UK.

Starling Bank received a £100m grant awarded in 2019 from the Capability and Innovation Fund (CIF). The bank pledged to use the money to create 398 new jobs in the UK and to invest £94.8m of its own money to help build a better bank for SMEs. Starling will make £913m of balance sheet lending available to SME customers by the end of 2023 and it expects to achieve a 6.7% market share within five years.

In February 2020 the bank raised £60m from Merian Global Investors and JTC Group to help scale its business banking service and its international expansion.

That same month, in an effort to alleviate the stress suffered by the self-employed due to unpredictable cashflow, Starling enhanced its business banking offering through a partnership with the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE). The two organisations aim to educate and support freelancers with their financial management and planning.

Shortly afterwards, in June, Starling announced it had added new partners to its marketplace - health insurer Equipsme, energy switching service Bionic, and messaging service Slack - to help its 175k SME customers.

Starling Bank launched online banking for its personal and joint account holders in October 2020, so that users can manage their finances from a desktop or laptop as well as their mobile app. Anne Boden said they developed the platform after listening to customer feedback about accessibility and flexibility.

In October 2020, with nearly 1.8 million accounts, £4 billion in deposits and £1.5 billion of lending, Starling hit break even.

In December 2020, Starling announced a new partner for its Marketplace, this time introducing freelance insurer Dinghy to its users.

In February 2021 rumours began to circulate around Starling Bank, with the US's Fidelity apparently in talks to take a £100m stake in the Fintech, as part of a new £200m round of funding. The challenger bank, which has more than 2m accounts, has reportedly previously had acquisition interest from Lloyd's and JP Morgan, though Starling itself has expressed interest in an IPO. 

Map showing the location of Starling Bank

London, United Kingdom

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Key people

Greg Hawkins Chief Technology Officer
Ben Chisell Product Director
Anne Boden Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Julian Sawyer Chief Operating Officer
Tony Ellingham Chief Financial Officer
John Mountain Chief Information Officer
Jacob Smith Finance Team
Declan Ferguson Head of Strategy
Stuart Leak Head of Lending
Laurence Potter Chief Risk Officer
Alexandra Frean Head of Corporate Affairs
Clare Nestor Head of Operations