Tom Blomfield, Monzo CEO
The launch of a new customer operations centre in Cardiff for Monzo, the mobile-only retail bank headquartered in London, is the latest addition to a sector that enhances Wales’ fintech credentials.
Monzo was granted a UK banking licence in April 2017 and enjoys a position at the heart of the digital banking revolution with over a million customers in the UK. It raised £105 million from investors in its most recent funding round - making Monzo the latest UK start-up to reach a valuation of more than £1 billion.
Monzo will create over 300 jobs over the next four years in the heart of the Welsh capital. It is the first challenger bank to nearshore to Wales from London, but it follows a pattern that has been developing for years, with Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC all having a significant presence in south Wales.
The region’s tech credentials should ensure it remains attractive to a banking sector that is becoming increasingly digitised, as well as the challenger banks that are seeking to offer an entirely mobile, digital banking experience. The south Wales area and the wider Severn Valley has the largest cluster of cybersecurity companies in the UK and is a prime location for research into cyber risks - an issue that remains of crucial importance to traditional and challenger banks alike.
Welsh universities also provide world-leading research into how artificial intelligence and machine learning can extract new insights from huge datasets, providing cutting edge techniques that could transform the banking sector.
Economy and Transport Minister, Ken Skates said: “Our Economic Action Plan is clear on our commitment to supercharging the industries of the future and supporting businesses to innovate and compete in a rapidly evolving market place.
“Monzo’s innovative business model, its groundbreaking functionality and rapid growth has seen it quickly evolve into one of the world’s leading digital banks and as a Welsh Government, we are proud to have supported its expansion into Wales.
“I look forward to Monzo joining our thriving financial and professional services sector here in Cardiff and in doing so creating 312 high quality customer service jobs right in the heart of our capital.”
Commenting on the announcement, Monzo’s CEO, Tom Blomfield, said: “I’m very excited for us to be expanding our presence in Cardiff and continuing to provide amazing customer support for our 1.3 million customers. Over the next few years, we’ll be hiring hundreds of people into our Cardiff office as we grow our customer base by millions more people.”
The Welsh Government encourages entrepreneurs, and there is an ongoing stream of talent graduating from the region’s universities. Cardiff has its own internet exchange, with the second highest number of customers connected outside of London. Europe’s largest data centre, Next Generation Data, is also based in the region. The most promising fintech companies can apply to accelerator programmes, such as Innovation Point's Digital Dozen, Barclays Eagle Lab and NatWest's Entrepreneur Accelerator in Cardiff.
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