Anne Boden/ Starling
"Very, very unlikely" big banks will have high-street branches, says Anne Boden
Anne Boden, CEO and founder of Starling, said that as banking continued to shift online, a post office or a “shared branch network” would deliver face-to-face services to those that wanted it.
It is “very, very unlikely” that all major banks will have high-street branches in the future, according to the CEO of Starling Bank, who also said the challenger bank is considering opening up an office in Leeds or Manchester.
She said: “Over time, I think that’s probably going to become the post office or a shared branch network.
“I think in future it’s very, very unlikely that each of the big banks will have a branch on the high-street. More and more things are going digital and more people want convenience.
“You do everything on the app, you want to do your banking on your app, and you don’t want to go into a branch and queue.”
Boden also said that Starling had customers in their 90s who were never off their mobile phones.
She added: “I think there needs to be some way of allowing some services to some people but don’t assume that it’s a certain demographic, older people, that want the branches or can’t use digital.
“We have customers in their 90s that live their life on their mobile. This is their link to the NHS, this is their link to their family.”
Boden said that the challenger bank, which has offices in London, Southampton, Dublin and Cardiff, is also considering opening an office in Leeds or Manchester over the next two years.
Currently, around 78 per cent of Starling customers are based outside of London.
Boden said: "We like to hire people into an office they can call home; most of the hiring over the last year has been in Cardiff, where we have 800 staff."
She said there is a fifty-fifty chance Starling will have an office in Leeds or Manchester over the next two years.
"The UK is seen as the centre of the fintech world. It started in Shoreditch and lots of places in the UK now have fintech hubs. All of our offices do everything, so we have data science and engineers in every office."
Boden said she was very concerned about the financial squeeze on consumers.
"We think lots of places outside London can combine a great life with work,'' she said. "Inflation is going to have a much bigger impact on people on lower incomes than people on higher incomes,” she added.
The CEO and fonder also raised long-standing concerns about women succeeding in financial services.
She added: "Women have great ideas and a huge amount of ability to get things done, but unfortunately they are told to go away more often than men.”