Starling Bank Becomes Latest Startup to Win License From BOE

Starling Bank, a financial startup vying to crack the dominance of Britain’s biggest lenders, gained a license to operate from the Bank of England. 

The company started by former Allied Irish Banks Plc executive Anne Boden, received a U.K. banking license with restrictions from the BOE’s Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority on Tuesday, the London-based firm said in an e-mailed statement Thursday.

Starling Bank joins a growing number of new lenders to win licenses from the central bank to compete in the nation’s oligopolistic consumer-banking industry, where four lenders control about 80 percent of the market. The firm raised $70 million from investors in January and follows Atom Bank, backed by Spain’s Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA and fund manager Neil Woodford, which gained approval to operate last year.

“We are delighted to have the confidence and support of the regulator,” Boden said in the statement. “For the past year, our team has been focused on building our product and technology from the ground up.”

The bank said it also joined the U.K.’s Faster Payments network, which offers real-time payment services to lenders in the country. Started two years ago, Starling Bank will offer checking accounts via mobile phones.

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