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Meet Shoal, Standard Chartered’s new “green” fintech brand powered by Starling Bank

In the UK, more than one-fifth of domestic investors are planning to invest in dedicated ethical funds in the near future, with the proportion rising to more than one-third among those aged 35 and under.

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Two weeks ago Greta Thunberg and other climate protesters pitched themselves outside Standard Chartered’s office in the heart of the City of London for a noisy protest at the banking giant’s financing of fossil fuel companies. 

Little did they know the bank was putting the final touches to the launch of shoal, a new Standard Chartered fintech ‘flanker’ brand positioned as a green digital banking platform.

Shoal is funded through SC Ventures, the innovation arm of Standard Chartered Bank.

Launching in 2022, initially just with a cash savings account, Shoal will invest exclusively in green and sustainable projects and will give savers the power to select the types of projects their cash will fund. 

Customers will be invited to select from a shortlist of options such as renewable energy, clean water, and community development. Once they have chosen a theme(s) their money will be used exclusively to fund projects aligned with those themes. They will receive regular updates on the projects they have helped fund, alongside “a competitive” rate of return.

Bill Winters, group chief executive at Standard Chartered, said: “Our vision is to become the world’s most sustainable and responsible bank. 

Interesting the whole of Shoal’s activities will be powered by the recently re-booted Banking-as-a-Service arm of Starling Bank.

Starling’s banking licence all accounts will be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. This model enables Shoal to focus on customer acquisition and service and delivers a front-end app with a superior user experience, while Starling ‘powers’ the overall solution.

“While we looked to the COP26 conference to accelerate government action, our partnership with Starling Bank is an example of the private sector taking decisive steps to scale climate investment.” 

“With Shoal, we’re excited to build a platform that will unlock much-needed retail capital to fund sustainable projects in parts of the world where the impact will be greatest and give savers the power to make good money, whilst making money do good.”

Anne Boden, CEO and founder of Starling Bank, says it will help Standard Chartered customers “live ever more sustainably”. 

Starling will handle the technical and regulatory demands behind the scenes, leaving Shoal to take care of their customers.”

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