New digital bank will “look like Facebook”

smarphone users

The former chief operating officer of Allied Irish Bank, Anne Boden, is set to launch Starling, a new branchless, digital-only bank that will deliver most services via mobile.

Starling will offer a single product, an online current account, and is targeted primarily at 24-35 year olds. “It will look more like Facebook than a bank – we will target people who live on their iPhones,” technology chief Tom Blomfield told CityAM.

Rather than having to pay an agency bank for access, which presents a major hindrance to challenger banks entering the market, Starling will connect directly into the financial sector payments network. In September, Boden told the Times: “This is a very ambitious plan. We are going to bring scale and a very different proposition to the market place…We are talking about millions [of customers] within five years.”

The firm, which is backed by the digital marketing and advertising giants WPP, is seeking to tie down the first part of its banking licence by 2015, before raising £100m in capital.