Posted on June 26, 2018 by staff

Revolut boss: Banks are ‘living in the past’


“Lumbering” traditional banks are “living in the past” and are too slow in developing high-tech banking experiences for their customers.

That is the view of Nik Storonsky, the outspoken co-founder and CEO of digital-only bank Revolut, which achieved ‘unicorn’ status earlier this year after raising $250 million at a $1.7 billion valuation.

In less than three years, Revolut has grown to a team of 380 and currently boasts over two million customers with a growing business client base. It recently moved into a new office in London.

Storonsky told BusinessCloud that “cumbersome high street banks have taken far too long to launch some form of digital bank”.

Meanwhile, he added that digital challenger banks like Revolut are more prepared for a tech-based banking experience and are already targeting and recruiting a younger audience who almost exclusively bank through their mobile phones.

“We believe that traditional banks are failing by not offering effective technology platforms,” he said. “They aren’t integrating customer data properly for better suggestions and they aren’t serving customers with enough machine-learning intelligence embedded in their processes.

“In other words, banks are living in the past.”

London-based Revolut was famously born out of Storonsky and co-founder Vlad Yatsenko’s frustrations with traditional banks’ fees and legacy systems.

Since its launch in July 2015, Storonsky has never shied away from criticising his competition and has recently gone as far as predicting the demise of most high street banks.

“Fairly soon we’ll start to see digital-only banks with lower fees forcing some other banks to close their branches,” he said.

“We anticipate a ‘land grab’ for the most promising technology platforms and start-ups, with an increasing number of key partnerships, mergers and acquisitions between challengers and incumbents.”

Despite its explosive growth, Storonsky is adamant that Revolut is still in its formative stages.

“Yes, I still see us as being a challenger,” he said. “So far, I believe that we have only taken Revolut from 0 to 1.

“Now we are planning to go from 1 to 100. Looking forward, we are taking what we have learnt in Europe and replicating it across the world.”

The entrepreneur says Revolut is targeting 100 million users within the next five years.

By the end of 2018, the bank will have launched in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia by the end of the year, with Japan, South Africa, Russia and India in the pipeline.

But it’s not only individual consumers that Revolut is attracting: the firm has a business client base of 60,000 and claims to be signing them up at a rate of 120 a day.

It made headlines last week with the launch of Revolut Connect, an ‘app store for business banking’ which allows companies to easily connect and build integrations for the most popular business apps, including accounting platforms like FreeAgent.

Storonsky insists the new tool doesn’t signal a move away from consumer-led products.

Business accounts are just another revenue stream for us, alongside our partnerships, Premium accounts and instant credit offering,” he said.

“Offering core banking products with add-on products is a way Revolut can set itself apart in a market where digital-only banking start-ups closely resemble one another and lumbering incumbents try to copy us.”