Lyon on fire at Realex

I wonder what the folks over at Ulster Bank think of their former employee Colm Lyon's attempt to eat their lunch?

The Realex Payments founder, who worked for Ulster during the 1980s and 1990s, adorned the business pages yesterday with the launch of his bankless money transfer system, Realex Fire. It allows users, via an app, to transfer cash to each other without dealing with the institutions that ruined the nation. A selling point in itself.

Lyon, possibly the most hyperactive businessman in the country, told me afterwards that he reckons Realex will “process more transactions in five years’ time than all of the Irish banks combined”.

Nothing wrong with a bit of ambition. But what has him so confident?


It turns out Realex is on the verge of announcing another transformational deal with a major international bank, similar to the HSBC deal that virtually doubled the business overnight in 2011 by hooking it up with thousands of UK retailers. And yet another bank deal is in the pipeline. Overall, Realex is set to enter "about six" new European markets.

The company is also looking for a new office in London, capable of holding “60 or 70 people”. It also hopes to launch sterling Realex Fire accounts before Christmas, followed by a push on the business banking market.

At least somebody is doing something somewhere in these straitened times.