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The fate of Revolut’s attempts to secure a long-awaited banking licence from City regulators was thrown into further doubt last night after it emerged that the Bank of England was minded to reject the company’s application.
The London-based group is the darling of Britain’s fintech industry and has been seeking approval for a licence from the Bank’s Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority for more than two years.
However, a source said last night that the PRA had informed the Treasury that it was minded to reject Revolut’s application, although they said that a final decision had not been made.
The Daily Telegraph was the first to report the development.
Failure to gain a licence from Revolut’s home regulators would pose an obstacle to the group’s ambitions to expand its operations in other countries. It would also be a blow to Britain’s wider fintech industry and to Rishi Sunak’s government, which has sought to champion the tech sector.
Revolut, the PRA and the Treasury all declined to comment.
Revolut became one of Europe’s biggest fintechs when it was valued at $33 billion in July 2021, after raising $800 million from investors including Softbank.
It was set up in 2015 by Nik Storonsky, who is its chief executive, and Vlad Yatsenko as a cross-border money transfer platform but is now a sprawling business, with operations spanning cryptocurrency trading and pet insurance.
The company has more than 28 million customers globally, including six million in the UK, and has more than 6,000 employees.
This month it emerged that Revolut’s chief financial officer and UK banking boss were leaving before the conclusion of the company’s long wait for a UK bank licence.
In March, Revolut’s external auditors, BDO, raised concerns in its 2021 accounts about the “completeness and occurrence” of close to £500 million of turnover and its “underdeveloped financial control environment”.
It hopes to file new accounts for 2022 in the summer.