Starling, a British digital bank, reported a sevenfold increase in revenue in the 16 months ending March 2021 as lending increased sevenfold, helping to cut losses in half.
Losses after tax totaled £23.3 million ($32 million) in the period, compared to £52.1 million in Starling’s most recent annual accounts, which covered the fiscal year ending Nov. 30.
Meanwhile, revenue increased 600% to £97.6 million from £14 million in the company’s 2019 fiscal results.
Starling said it moved its fiscal year end from November 30 to March 31 to make it easier for shareholders to compare quarterly results. The London-based firm’s balance sheet has been significantly growing as lending has increased as a result of government-backed financing schemes aimed at assisting businesses in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Starling, the amount of lending on its books has increased to £2.2 billion “from a very low base.” This enabled the bank to break even for the first time in October 2020, according to Starling, who added that it has profited every month since then.
Starling said in a trading update Thursday that sales reached £42.8 million in the three months to the end of June 2021, for an annual run rate of £170 million. Starling is now “very much on track to post our first full year of profitability” in fiscal 2022, CEO and founder Anne Boden told reporters on a conference call Thursday.
The bank’s move toward profitability contrasts with that of fellow fintechs Monzo and Revolut, which saw their losses grow in 2020.
Monzo reported a post-tax loss of £113.8 million in the fiscal year ending February 2020, up from £47.1 million the previous year. The London-based fintech, whose market value was reduced by 40% to £1.25 billion last year, warned that disruption from Covid-19 had cast “significant doubt” on its ability to continue “as a going concern.” Revolut reported annual losses of £167.8 million in 2020, up from £106.7 million in 2019. Revolut, on the other hand, stated that it was “strongly profitable” in the first quarter of 2021. The company recently raised funds at a $33 billion valuation, putting it ahead of British banking giant NatWest in terms of market value.
Boden claims that, despite the fact that Starling’s competitors have millions more customers, Starling users typically hold much more money. Revolut and Monzo have 16 million and 4 million users, respectively, while Starling has over 2 million.
“They have seven times the number of customers we do and only 60 percent of the deposits,” Boden explained. Personal banking customers, on average, have a balance of £2,000 with the lender, according to Starling.
Starling is aggressively entering the small business banking market, currently holding a 6.3 percent share of the sector in the United Kingdom and aiming for a double-digit market share in the next 18 months. As of June 30, £3.9 billion of Starling’s deposits came from businesses, with the remaining £2.8 billion coming from retail customers.
The company, which was last privately valued at $1.5 billion, recently launched mortgages and plans to acquire a lender to strengthen its balance sheet even further. In terms of an initial public offering, Boden stated that she hopes to float the company by late 2022 or early 2023.
Wise, a money transfer company, went public earlier this month in a blockbuster direct listing in London, valuing the company at $11 billion. Since then, the company’s stock has steadily increased in value, and it is now worth $18.2 billion.