Starling Bank boss: “We are pulling away from the fintech pack.”

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STARLING Bank today moved to position itself as the “adult” in the fintech room, insisting it is best placed to offer serious competition to the big banks.

I do think she’s spot on. Starling and Revolut are the two to watch, imho, though for different reasons:

Starling, slow and steady. Kinda boring, certainly not flashy, but self confidently progressing.

Revolut trying to throw everything at the wall and seeing what sticks, have built an impressive product.

Both still have a very long way to go, though, imho


100% agree.

Starling project confidence, they’re cautious but not scared of making progress. It defnitely feels like a more mature approach.

Starlings approach of giving the consumer the product for free whilst charging business for it is something I applaud.

Wait until the Monzo community see this… they’ll be out TP’ing Anne’s house further proving her point :rofl:

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The stats are quite impressive IMO


Indeed. I’d really like to know a figure for actual unique customers though, which is the statistic I care more about, because it depicts true growth better than number of accounts does.

I presume a retail current account is a pre-requisite for opening other accounts? If so it gives us a rough ballpark figure, though still somewhat skewed by the fact it’s possible to have more than one account with Starling.

Growth of accounts is great, but how much of that is coming from new customers, and how much from existing?

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Revolut is doing some amazing stuff but I still don’t trust them as much as I would like to. Their valuation is mind-blowing and they have developed the most impressive app than any of the banks (or not banks, banks) in the UK.

Starling boss just knows what she is doing I think. She had a clear idea from the start and despite people taking a shine to Monzo, she has not changed her direction. Starling avoided the problem of pre-paid card which I think still hurts Monzo. A lot of folks still think of Monzo as a spending card or a travel card.


My feelings exactly. If and when they’re licensed, things are going to become very interesting!


You don’t need a personal account for a business account, but I think you do for a personal EUR account and joint account.

The EUR accounts are split out, so the only inconvenient combination is that retail accounts will have individual, joint accounts and the paid second accounts that were launched recently. To be honest - I expect there to be very few joint and paid second accounts so number of retail customers is probably not far off the retail accounts given.


I don’t think I’d trust Monzo for more than that, to be honest.

But then, given their merchant data and 3DS issues they don’t even seem to be particuarly good for that purpose …

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It does say in her ‘letter’

Our deposit base grew to £5.8 billion (2019: £1 billion), while our customer accounts more than doubled to 2.1 million (2019: 926,000) and our lending shot up to £2.2 billion from a very low base. We broke even for the month of October 2020 and have recorded a profit every month since then.

And we continue to add new accounts - at the rate of one every 34 seconds. As of 30 June 2021 we had 2.3 million open accounts; 1.8 million retail current accounts, 374,000 accounts for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and 126,000 euro and US dollar accounts. We now have a 6.3% share of the UK market for small business banking, up from 3% last year.

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The average deposit figure they’re publishing is pretty decent - must be a fair number of people using them as a main bank.

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Ah, interesting! So 1.8 million is likely to be a pretty decent ballpark figure then! Not bad growth as it goes. Possibly a little more if business customers aren’t also doubling as retail customers.

She talks specifically about customer accounts rather than actual customers though. It’s a clever little spin doctoring businesses do in reports like this to make things look more impressive.

I recently reopened my account with Starling after some palaver, so I’m oneof those accounts in their figures again now. However I have been prompted to open more in app, and if I were to do so, then I, as a single customer, would account for 4 (or potentially more) customer accounts, whilst still being a single customer.

I’m a data nerd, and without discreet customer numbers it makes it hard for me to compare with the stats released by other banks so I can make an accurate animated pie chart to depict customer growth over time relative to the legacy banks. Starling is the only Neo Bank I haven’t been able to include in my datasets yet.

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At the end of the day… what really matters.

Are you profitable… the answer for Starling is. Yes.

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Fried Rice Cooking GIF by Nigel Ng (Uncle Roger)

If that were true, then every customer would have at least one account (so any estimate based on number of accounts would create the perception of inflated customer numbers).

In fact, though, you don’t need a sole personal account to open a business account (unlike with Monzo) so it’s very difficult to estimate accounts (as @Adie says). You do for other personal account types though.

If a couple have a personal account each, a euro account each and a joint account that’s 5 accounts but two customers. A business can also have multiple directors so how you count them adds further complexity.

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I have:
1 x Personal
1 x Personal (Euro)
1 x Sole Trader
1 x Limited Company (with 2 x PSC)

My business partner has access to the limited company account but no other accounts

I wonder how we stack up in Starlings stats


You are likely to be well over average in terms of number of accounts, your business partner is probably slightly under (the average must be somewhere between 1 and 2, I’d guess, but likely to be closer to 1 than 2).


Well my interpretation of what they have published would be:

1 retail account
1 retail EUR account
2 business accounts


I have with starling

1x personal
1 x euro


Me too :slight_smile: