Varo Money granted preliminary approval for national bank charter

Mobile banking solution Varo Money has become the first FinTech to receive preliminary approval for a national bank charter from the OCC.

The bank has landed preliminary approval by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) of their application to form a de novo national bank. It puts Varo on track to become the first all-mobile national bank in the history of the United States.

This will enable it to become a regulated bank that can take deposits, pay interest, make loans around the US and issue debit and credit cards – all via its mobile app.

Varo Bank is currently in formation and will obtain its final national bank charter upon completion of organizational steps and satisfaction of the OCC’s conditions, as well as approval from the FDIC to obtain insurance and Federal Reserve membership.

“This is a historic moment and marks the start of a new era in banking,” said Colin Walsh, co-founder and CEO of Varo Money. “We founded Varo because we saw that banks weren’t serving the majority of their customers very well, and we wanted to fix that. So we decided to build a bank from the ground up with the goal of improving consumers’ financial health through better technology and a more efficient business model.”

Founded by Colin Walsh, CEO, and Kolya Klymenko, CTO, Varo provides consumers with a banking solution built for smartphones. Users open up a bank account on the app, enabling them to access banking, saving and lending products.

The San Francisco-based FinTech provides a selection of financial tools to help users with cash flow projections, spending tacking, and smart alerts. Its claims to remove overdraft fees, minimum balance fees and foreign transaction fees, while also offering free ATM cash withdrawals.

Founded in 2015, Varo has raised more than $79M in funding, led by Warburg Pincus and The Rise Fund, a global impact fund led by private equity firm TPG.

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