UK digital bank Mondo lays out plan to get full banking license

By August 17, 2016Bitcoin Business
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Fintech Funding Europe

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UK digital-only bank Mondo received a restricted banking licence last week and can now hold up to £50,000 ($65,000) in customer deposits and connect to live payments networks to test its systems.

This means that it no longer has to rely on prepaid cards loaded with funds held by a third party as it did previously. In order to obtain a full banking licence, Mondo must prove that its systems are stable and conform to regulatory standards in the next 12 months. The bank outlined its plan to meet these requirements in a blog post this week:

  • Hiring. Mondo plans to hire heads of compliance and risk, likely in an attempt to reassure the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that it has the requisite knowledge and experience to run a bank.
  • Connecting to payments networks. The bank can now build connections to payments networks including MasterCard, Faster Payments (for instant payments), and Bacs (to enable direct debits and standing orders).
  • Upgrading its Android app. Much of Mondo's attention so far has been on its iOS app. It now plans to roll out its Android app to more users and upgrade the functionality to match that of the iOS version.
  • Raise money. To achieve the above steps, Mondo needs to raise capital. It plans to raise £15 million-£20 million ($19 million-$26 million), as first reported by Business Insider in June, with a large portion of that coming from crowdfunding.

Mondo's decision to launch a live product before getting a licence may help it succeed. The bank has been sending out 1,000 cards a week since March, and there are 35,000 people on its waiting list. This means that it already has a loyal customer base to transition to its banking product once it has a full licence. And since the product has been live for months, it's been developed and refined with customers' input. This may help Mondo capture market share and provide it with an edge over other digital-only banks in the UK including Starling, Atom, and Tandem — none of which yet have a live product in the hands of customers.

We’ve entered the most profound era of change for financial services companies since the 1970s brought us index mutual funds, discount brokers and ATMs.

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