Starling Bank Bounce Back Loans demand surges prompting backlash

By Aisling Finn on Monday 18 May 2020

Alternative LendingDigital Banking

The digital bank has so far received over 18,000 applications for the Bounce Back Loan scheme that officially opened last Monday.

Starling Bank Bounce Back Loans demand surges prompting backlash
Image source: Anne Boden/Starling

Starling Bank has found itself facing hurdles with its Bounce Back Loans (BBL).

Anne Boden’s bank first began facing backlash after it stopped accepting new sole trader business accounts because of  “record demand” on 14 May 2020.

In a thread on Twitter, Starling announced that it would reopen the sole trader account process on 1 June 2020 so that it could “focus on better serving our existing sole traders.”

Since then, Starling has been met by a host of complaints from customers claiming to have been rejected for a BBL with the bank—although many have pointed out that this is because the customers likely failed the necessary fraud checks needed to receive a BBL.

In a tweet on Friday, Starling said it had processed 99.7 per cent of BBL applications with the average time for customers to receive funding being only 27 hours.

On Sunday evening following some backlash, Anne Boden tweeted that Starling had only processed 75 per cent of applications and had declined 16 per cent, with over 94 per cent of customers getting paid within 24 hours of signing their loan agreement.

Late on Friday evening, Anne Boden tweeted: “I am really sorry to disappoint customers at this very difficult time.”

Of the 18,161 applications the digital bank has received, 16 per cent have been rejected, equating to just over 2,900 applications. 

At AltFi’s Digital Summit on Friday, Boden told AltFi that Starling had lent out £263m to SMEs in need and had also announced a partnership with Funding Circle to dish out £300m more.

UPDATE 19-05-2020 - The headline was updated to better reflect Starling Bank's ongoing BBL process.

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