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Starling’s Engine CEO doesn’t plan to “follow the Revolut path” into Europe

Early Starling Bank employee Sam Everington is now leading the challenger’s newly-branded Engine banking-as-a-service arm.

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AltFi Money Talks.

Sam Everington wasn’t immediately won over by the pitch that smartphone app-only neobanks would be the future.

“The thought of a mobile-only bank took probably a while for me to come around to, I did most of my banking through the desktop browser at that point and barely used the app,” said Everington, recalling the time in early-2016 when he was approached to join Starling Bank as head of engineering, just months after Starling’s banking licence was granted.

“The thought of a lot of people switching en mass to mobile-only banking, probably took a bit of time to warm up to. It wasn't until I was using it myself that I became totally convinced it was the future.”

Yet from the outset, Everington was convinced that banks could do better in terms of their technology.

Today the executive is leading Starling’s charge to do just that, help banks improve their technology by harnessing the very same infrastructure that he’s spent the last seven years building.

Engine has been around in various guises since as far back as 2017, quietly helping the likes of Raisin and the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions to overhaul their payments infrastructure.

Yet it was only in December that the neobank began to beat the drum louder, and announce that the affectionately-known ‘Starling-as-a-service’ would be expanding internationally.

Finally in February Engine was registered at Companies House as a subsidiary of Starling, with Everington appointed as its CEO.

“Engine will supply technology to the UK bank,” is how Everington explained the setup, speaking exclusively on AltFi’s Money Talks webinar and podcast. “And to hopefully what will become our European bank—we've been working through that process in Ireland for a while.”

Indeed, in order to truly take Engine global, as Starling’s CEO Anne Boden has stated, the bank must first resolve its Irish banking licence roadblock, the delays around which continue to linger.

“So for the kind of rest of the world, and to a reasonable extent in Europe, we want to work with other banks and financial providers, where we supply the technology and bring them the kind of insights and our way of working and serving customers through to our experience with our operational processes running [Starling] at scale for five or six years now,” explained Everington.

“To help them transform and to re-platform, or stand up digital brands on the side and eventually re-platform onto later… that's what the Engine entity is focused on doing.”

“We don't plan to follow the Revolut path of going after licences in 50 different countries,” the CEO said.

“It's very costly, it's very capital intensive, it’s time-consuming, and you've got to build that brand and that trust and that recognition.”

Hear the whole conversation with Sam Everington, CEO of Engine by Starling Bank, Sarah Kocianski, a Fintech and Insurtech Strategy Consultant, and Kunal Galav, Director of Advisory Services at Mambu on Money Talks: How Nine Years Of Neobanking Changed The World.

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Sam Everington

CEO of Engine by Starling

Engine by Starling Bank

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