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Former head of Klarna UK Alex Marsh joins Salad Money

Six months after leaving the Swedish BNPL giant, Marsh is joining the community lender as a non-executive director

Alex Marsh (1)

Alex Marsh/Salad Money

Alex Marsh, former head of Klarna UK, has joined ethical lender Salad Money as a non-executive director.

Having left the Swedish fintech giant six months ago, Marsh is now joining the growing fintech that uses open banking to assess affordability for key workers across the UK.

Launched in 2019, Salad Money provides an alternative to high-cost lending for workers in the NHS and public sectors who might have poor, thin or even non-existent credit scores.

Post-life at Klarna, Marsh has filled his time with a number of new ventures — including a role as non-executive director for the Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT) and increased his involvement with Charterpath, a charity he co-founded that connects non-profits with financial skills — and joining Salad Money seemed like a natural next step.

In an interview with AltFi, Marsh said he first crossed paths with Salad Money’s CEO Tim Rooney when they appeared on a panel together a few years ago and have kept in touch since.

As the company continues to grow — it has surpassed £58m in total lending to more than 45,000 customers — now seemed like the right point on the company’s growth journey to join.

“I think one of the challenges we've seen in the UK has been around the data sources available to use to make good decisions and to make it, as much as possible, a level playing field for consumers and businesses to access credit,” Marsh told AltFi.

“That's what struck me about Salad Money. It was quite brave. They've gone straight to open banking as the data source that they're using for their underwriting.”

Bypassing credit checks and credit reference agency data, the company strives to have a fairer and more transparent decision-making process in who it lends to and, as Marsh pointed out, tries to provide every customer — even if they don’t end up taking out a loan — with the best solution.

That might even be pointing people towards its free benefits checker and ensuring they are receiving all the benefits they’re entitled to so they don’t need to take out a loan — last year the company helped applicants to identify more than £430m in unclaimed benefits.

It also helped declined applicants to access £130,000 in hardship grant awards.

This, alongside Salad Money’s data-driven approach to lending, particularly stood out to Marsh in terms of its mission.

“Its mission is ultimately to provide access to consumers where, particularly public sector workers, would otherwise often be pushed to incredibly high-cost credit or potentially all the way through to loan sharks or illegal lending, which is an incredibly sad situation,” Marsh said.

It also helps that one of the company’s customer service hubs is in Brighton, where Marsh is based, and the Trustpilot scores didn’t hurt either (4.9/5 averaged over more than 5,000 reviews).

“[The Trustpilot scores] just blew me away, it’s just remarkable reviews,” Marsh said. 

“To be at that end of the spectrum in terms of ‘Excellent’ Trustpilot scores is not common, particularly when you're serving customers in those stressful situations where there are going to be challenges because often they're using credit because they have an unexpected spend that they haven't necessarily budgeted for [...]

“There are people who were in, at times, difficult situations, so to see those kinds of Trustpilot scores is a testament to the the discipline they have for their underwriting, but also the really good quality service that they provide to customers.”

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