Revolut to use ECB banking licence to offer personal loans to Irish customers

Digital bank denies rumours move is linked to frustration over regulator’s approach

Revolut has 1.7 million Irish customers

Revolut has dropped plans to use the e-money licence it secured from the Central Bank of Ireland last year in a move that is expected to lead to a small number of job losses locally.

The company, which was awarded a full banking licence by the European Central Bank (ECB) in December, said it intended to use that licence to offer services – including personal loans – to Irish customers rather than the one approved by the Irish regulator.

A spokesman for Revolut denied rumours that the move was linked to reports of frustration by the fintech over the Central Bank’s approach to regulation. A number of other fintechs have also expressed concern over the regulator’s approach, which sees it taking considerably longer than its European counterparts to approve licences. Few have commented publicly, however, for fear of displeasing the Central Bank.

Revolut jettisoned plans to set up a European wealth and trading hub in Dublin last year after securing authorisation in Lithuania to provide investment services across the European Economic Area.


Job losses

A spokesman for Revolut confirmed there would be a small number of job losses in Ireland arising from the decision to use the full ECB banking licence but said it was seeking to find alternative roles for those impacted. Revolut employs about 3,000 people globally and more than 100 in the Republic.

Revolut customers here are already regulated by the Bank of Lithuania following a move late in 2020 to shift regulation away from Britain due to Brexit.

Revolut Bank is live in 28 markets in Europe, having been rolled out to 10 additional countries last month.

“In light of the withdrawal of Ulster Bank and KBC from the Irish market, Irish customers are in more need of alternative banking providers rather than an e-money account,” Revolut said.

“As Revolut Bank is now in a position to bring more competition and choice to the Irish banking market, we no longer plan to serve customers in Ireland using the e-money licence which the Central Bank of Ireland approved late last year,” it added.

The fintech’s banking licence allows it to provide bank accounts to Irish customers covered by the deposit guarantee of up to €100,000 per customer.

Revolut, which has 1.7 million Irish customers, has opened a waiting list for those who wish to sign up for personal loans.

Founded in July 2015 by Nik Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko, Revolut is best known for consumer-oriented services. However, it has also been pushing deeper into business banking in recent years.

The company was valued at $33 billion (€29 billion) after raising $800 million from backers last year.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist