Monzo applies for US banking licence

By Aisling Finn on Thursday 23 April 2020

Digital Banking

The digital challenger bank submitted the application to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on Monday.

Monzo applies for US banking licence
Image source: Tom Blomfield/Monzo

Digital banking giant Monzo has officially applied for a US banking licence, placing it ahead of its rivals also seeking stateside expansion.

The UK-based challenger bank applied to US authorities on Monday but the process could take anywhere between 18 months to two years for a licence to be given if successful.

A US banking licence is renowned for being difficult to nab and since 2017 there have only been between 3-4 applications per year. 

At the beginning of March, Monzo hit 4m customers in the UK but has long set its sights on tapping into the US market.

The plans to jump across the pond were initially announced in the Summer of 2019 and saw the challenger issuing “a few thousand cards” to American customers as part of a beta testing round. 

Becoming a fully licenced bank would mean Monzo could start offering money-making practices stateside, such as lending, as well as being able to fully protect customer deposits.

Recently appointed US CEO TS Anil, who was previously Global Head of Products and Platforms at Visa, said: “Filing an application for a US banking licence is a significant milestone in our mission to make money work for everyone.”

“By applying to be one of the first new US banks in a decade, we’re aiming to provide Americans with a better banking alternative. Monzo will be fair, transparent, and will bring many of the features that our UK customers love to the US market,” he added.

As well as lodging a banking application, Monzo has also announced it plans to open a new office in San Fransico with some of its staff still working from its current US base in Los Angeles. 

Earlier this month it was revealed that Monzo’s CEO Tom Blomfield would be forgoing his salary for the next 12 months to ensure that his staff receive theirs and that the digital bank was to furlough nearly 300 members of staff.

Sign up for our newsletters


Your daily 7am download of all things alternative finance and fintech.

Fintech and alternative finance headlines with an exclusive Editor's Note each week. Delivered Monday at midday.