London-based Banking as a Service (BaaS) company Griffin is aiming to fly higher with an attempt to get a banking licence.
Griffin says it has submitted its application to the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). According to the two regulators, few firms seeking authorisation reach this stage. The figures show that 28% of companies that held initial meetings with the regulators reached the application submission stage between 2013 and September 2019. It sounds like The Hunger Games.
Anyway, Griffin is happy and its chair John Weguelin calls the development a “major milestone”.
There’s no doubt about that but the number of neobanks or challenger banks in the UK is quite remarkable. To keep it mercifully brief, names include Bond (a scoop by eWeek UK), Leatherback, Allica, The Bank of London and Recognise.
Last year, GB Bank grabbed a restricted banking licence and said it will focus on the North East, Yorkshire and North West.
Not all make it. In February, due to a lack of investment, Masthaven said it will be withdrawing from the UK banking market over the next two years.
The big three challengers – Monzo, Starling and Revolut – are doing pretty well. This week, Starling revealed that it doubled the size of its Cardiff office. It said 868 employees are based in the region, a 117% increase on the bank’s original 2020 pledge to hire 400.
In fact, Amy Kirk is an independent non-executive director at Griffin and current board member of Monzo and FCMB UK.
Griffin’s BaaS platform is designed for fintechs of all sizes to help them bring their products to market. The platform includes access to all the UK’s payment rails, bank accounts, debit cards, an integrated ledger and customer onboarding automation.
The firm adds that it is developing an API-first, full-stack platform.
Griffin was founded by Silicon Valley engineers David Jarvis and Allen Rohner (who previously co-founded tech unicorn CircleCI), along with a team of banking and technology executives from the Bank of England – PRA, Nasdaq, Visa, HSBC, Form3, Monzo, SWIFT, GoCardless and more.
The company is backed by investors EQT Ventures, Tribe Capital and Seedcamp.