BusinessCantillon

Monzo’s Irish plans already in train

UK neobank heavily engaged with Irish regulators in effort to secure authorisation to operate here

Monzo is in the early stages of setting up an Irish operation

The UK online bank Monzo sprang something of a surprise on Monday, when chief executive TS Anil said in the company’s annual report the firm was in the “early stages of setting up an Irish office” that it would use to access the wider EU market.

“Ireland will act as our gateway to European markets,” he said.

The company, which is a rival to the likes of N26 and Revolut, is not thought to be close to launching here – a spokeswoman declined to comment further on its future plans for Ireland beyond reiterating that it is in the early stages of development here.

But clearly there are serious plans in the works. Indeed, Monzo has been engaging extensively with the Central Bank in Dublin as it seeks the licence it needs to operate here and across the wider EU. The Central Bank declined to comment.

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Monzo is thought to have been working closely with the Irish regulator in recent months and, while it is perhaps notable that there appears to have been some engagement with the European Central Bank as well, there is little indication that Monzo’s application has hit any roadblocks so far.

That could all change at any moment, of course, but up to now things appear to be going according to plan from Monzo’s perspective.

The company already has something of an Irish flavour. It hired former Square executive Conor Walsh to spearhead its renewed effort to break the US market after a first attempt to set up an operation there in 2019 eventually came to naught. It ultimately withdrew its application for a US banking licence two years later. Chief people officer Sarah Manning meanwhile is a graduate of Dublin City University, according to her LinkedIn profile.