Varo Money on course for first US bank licence
Mobile banking start-up Varo Money says it has been granted preliminary approval by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) of their application to form a de novo national bank.
If all goes to plan it will become the first all-mobile national bank in the history of the US.
“This is an historic moment and marks the start of a new era in banking,” says Colin Walsh, co-founder and CEO of Varo Money. “We founded Varo because we saw that banks weren’t serving the majority of their customers very well, and we wanted to fix that.”
I can’t criticise such snide comments because I do it all the time as well.
The move follows on from last year, when Varo didn’t hang around for the OCC to finalise its controversial fintech charter plan. Varo put its application in nice and early.
Last month, the OCC started to accept applications for national bank charters (licences) from non-depository fintech firms. It came up with the usual line that such a move is to provide more choices to consumers and businesses.
Varo’s all-mobile account will offer fee-free banking – such as no monthly maintenance fees, no foreign transaction fees, and no ATM withdrawal fees. Varo has a network of more than 55,000 Allpoint ATMs worldwide. Its bank accounts are provided by The Bancorp Bank.
Varo was founded in 2015 by Walsh and Kolya Klymenko, CTO. It has raised more than $79 million in funding, led by Warburg Pincus and The Rise Fund.
In August, we did an exclusive on Varo Money selecting Temenos’ T24 core banking system.
Do you have an interest in American dreams? Our handy list of US challenger banks may help sate such desires.