Starling CEO accused of hindering FinTech innovation

53 FinTechs have signed a letter challenging a recent claim by Starling’s Anne Boden that Open Banking has “not been a success”.

In 2021, the challenger bank’s chief executive and founder told the Treasury Select Committee that Open Banking does not encourage people to switch banks and that customers are not influenced to change simply because they can take their data with them.

In a letter addressed to the Committee, published in full by AltFi, the FinTech Founders group, which includes chief executives from over 50 financial technology companies including Credit Kudos, Zopa, and LendInvest, said that they did not agree with Boden’s comments.

“This is not our view, and we believe that this view is uncompetitive and typical of banks trying to thwart the future of innovation in financial services,” the group wrote. “Although the technology has only been live since November 2018, Open Banking has already led to the formation of a whole host of new start-ups, raising hundreds of millions of dollars in new venture capital investment.”

In response to the letter, Boden said that she is one of the biggest advocates of opening up banking.

"I believe it’s all about taking on the big banks and changing it and making things more competitive for consumers," she said. "But I speak the truth, and I’m pretty honest about when things are working and when they’re not working.

"I want to open the debate because if things are not working, we need to fix them, and we need to fix them in the interests of consumers, not the fintech industry.”

Last year, the chief executive tweeted: “Let's debate Open Banking and make it better! Innovators are courageous, avoid Groupthink, accept honest feedback, obsess about customers and then occasionally pivot! Happy to brainstorm with these Open Banking entrepreneurs to see if I can help.”

Co-founder and executive chair of LendInvest Christian Faes hit back at the Starling chief exec, in a response tweet: “Oh please @AnneBoden, let's just be honest. You've been briefing against Open Banking and you've been called out on it! Open Banking is about so much more than switching bank accounts, and the innovation around it needs to be encouraged."

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