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New UK neobank Kroo lands banking license

Kroo is one of only two new banks to be authorised in 2021 so far.

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Andrea de Gottardo /Kroo

Kroo, a UK-based neobank, has received a UK banking licence with restrictions from the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The authorisation’s restrictions mean that Kroo, which plans to launch in 2022 can accept deposits up to £50,000 in total in the near term. 

So far, the bank says it has ‘grown organically’ since its inception in 2019 to have 5,000 prepaid cardholders (an e-money product), with over 20,000 monthly transactions on the platform. 

It recently closed a £17.7m investment, taking total funding raised to over £30m.

Kroo aims to be what it calls ‘a social bank’, removing the friction from financial interactions with family and friends, and “by reducing the social anxiety and stigma surrounding money management”. 

Also, Kroo recently launched a customer tree-planting referral scheme in June 2021 and has pledged to donate a percentage of its profits to social causes.

To meet regulators’ demands during the application process for a banking license involves submitting a regulatory business plan alongside a number of policies and key documents, capital and liquidity assessments approval, and attending in-depth feed-back “challenge sessions”.

Kroo says it will gradually close down its prepaid card scheme and offer its customers the ability to transition their existing accounts over to the new Kroo current account, free of charge. Later next year it will offer loans.

The bank has also revealed its new board of directors. These include Cameron Marr as chair, corporate governance and financial control specialist Penelope Kenny as senior independent director, tech entrepreneur Rudy Karsan as representative of the shareholders and risk and compliance expert Serena Joseph to lead its risk committee.

Andrea De Gottardo, CEO of Kroo, said: “It is incredibly exciting to finally be a bank that is authorised with restrictions. Very few firms in the UK get to this point and this represents a huge milestone for the entire team. We’ve worked hard over the years to build a bank our customers will not only love but can rely on and trust. Entering mobilisation brings us one giant step closer to becoming the greatest social bank on the planet.”

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