Revolut founder chases elusive licence to become a bank

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Founder of cash-transfer app Revolut approached senior Bank of England official in rare move amid his company’s drive to become a bank

Nikolay Storonsky, the founder of cash-transfer app Revolut, approached a senior Bank of England official in a rare move last week amid his company’s drive to become a bank. 

Storonsky, 37, is understood to have attended an event led by Sam Woods, deputy governor of the Bank, and City Minister John Glen, who dialled in virtually. 

Revolut has yet to receive a UK banking licence – partly owing to a backlog of applications at the Bank – despite applying for one early last year. 

Drive: Revolut has yet to receive a UK banking licence – partly owing to a backlog of applications at the Bank – despite applying for one early last year

Drive: Revolut has yet to receive a UK banking licence – partly owing to a backlog of applications at the Bank – despite applying for one early last year

Storonsky was making noises as far back as 2017 about applying for one, which the Bank would be responsible for granting. 

Two sources said Storonsky was seen talking to Woods, who is the most after governor Andrew Bailey. They suggested this reflected his ambition to secure a licence. 

Revolut said: ‘He spoke to various attendees.’ 

The app works with large high street banks to hold customer deposits, but a licence would allow Revolut to hold customer cash on its own balance sheet, with protection from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme in case it collapses. 

Senior leaders of Britain’s upstart lenders were also at the meeting to discuss how the Bank could foster their growth. 

Revolut fetched a valuation of $33 billion (£25.2billion) after a fundraising last year, making it the most expensive tech firm in the UK. It has amassed more than 18million customers.

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