Starling Bank withdraws Irish banking licence application

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UK challenger bank Starling Bank has reportedly scraped plans to launch in Ireland after withdrawing its application for an Irish banking licence.

The bank allegedly informed its 2,000 employees on Monday about the move to end its four-year process aimed at launching a retail bank in Ireland, according to a report from Sky News.

The message, which was sent by CEO and founder Anne Boden, stated the bank will refocus on other initiatives that could have a ‘superior return.’

According to Sky News, the message said, “Sometimes changing course is the right option. My job as CEO is to constantly test our thinking against evolving circumstances and to make sure that we are delivering value and maximising potential for growth. Ultimately, we felt that an Irish subsidiary would not deliver the added value we are seeking.”

The report stated that Starling might now consider acquiring a European bank to obtain a licence, rather than applying for one in each new market.

Boden’s message stated Starling will focus on taking its software to banks around the world.

Starling recently completed an internal fundraise of £130.5m at a pre-money valuation of over £2.5bn.

Earlier in the year, it also acquired specialist buy-to-let mortgage lender Fleet Mortgages in a £50m cash and share deal. This move was part of its ambition to enter the mortgage sector.

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