Anne Boden, the CEO of British mobile-only challenger bank Starling, rethinking the financial services space.
Speaking with CNBC at her London office, Boden looked back to when she worked as global transaction services lead for the Royal Bank of Scotland, and recalled her introduction to the world of financial technology (fintech).
“While I was working on the aftermath of the crisis and turning the organization around to focus on customers much more, I learned about fintech, and I came across a number of fintech companies that were doing things with £30,000 ($38,618) that the big banks were doing with £30 million,” she told CNBC in an exclusive interview last Wednesday.
“And all of a sudden I realized that while the whole industry was looking inward on itself, these people had come up with huge opportunities to do things that were great and transformative for customers, and were really listening to customers and responding in a very agile way that was delivering new functionality and new experiences to customers using new technology.”
Boden founded her British fintech start-up in 2014, shortly after she left one of Ireland’s biggest financial institutions, Allied Irish Bank, where she worked as the chief operating officer.
Starling doesn’t have a single physical branch, and relies entirely on a mobile phone app.
“Ireland was an opener. It was a country that had a really impactful financial crisis. The country had really been bruised by the banking industry, and I spent a lot of time talking to real customers about the impacts on their lives of financial services.”
Resume – Anne Boden
The EU’s Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) will force banks to open up their APIs and customer data to third party firms next year.
“We can actually capture a huge amount of information, which we believe should belong to our customer rather than the bank. And we use that information to give our customer insight, into how they conduct their day-to-day financial affairs, and then we share that if the customer allows it, with other providers in our marketplace of products.”
Individuals and businesses involved in fintech refer to this idea as “open banking”.
The mobile-only bank currently offers a beta app on both Apple and Android app stores, and provides its customers with personalized current accounts. Customers go through a waiting list before being able to set up a current account.
For Boden, technology is a “huge enabler,” and the CEO added that, in future, the bank was hoping to revolutionize the way it looks at customer relationships.