Startup Bank Mondo Changes its Name by One Letter to Monzo

  • Firm sought new name with customers’ help after legal dispute
  • Monzo won banking license from U.K. regulators this month

Mondo, a financial startup vying to crack the dominance of Britain’s biggest lenders, said it changed its name by one letter to Monzo after a legal dispute.

The smartphone-based lender started by former GoCardless Ltd. founder Tom Blomfield picked the name after considering 12,560 suggestions from customers over six months, the London-based firm said in a statement Thursday. The bank said it didn’t use branding agencies and wanted to stick with a name beginning with ‘M’ so it could keep its logo and other branding.

Monzo became the latest startup lender to win a U.K. banking license from the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority earlier this month. In winning approval from the central bank, the firm joins a growing number of new lenders aiming to compete in the nation’s consumer-banking industry, where four lenders control about 80 percent of the market.

“It’s like Mondo, but better,” Blomfield said in the statement. “And hopefully with fewer lawsuits.”

The company said in June it received a legal trademark challenge from an unidentified company with a similar name. While it asked customers to pick a name, it said they couldn’t suggest “Banky McBankface,” a reference to a public competition to name a British polar research vessel that was won by “Boaty McBoatface”.

Started in February 2015, Monzo offered prepaid debit cards ahead of winning its approval from the Bank of England and said it plans to start offering checking accounts early next year after restrictions on its license are lifted. The firm has about 30,000 prepaid card users and has raised about 8 million pounds ($10.6 million) from investors including early stage venture capital firm Passion Capital.

--With assistance from Jeremy Kahn

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