Starling Debuts New Business Lending Strategy

U.K. challenger Starling Bank is moving forward with plans to introduce business lending services, reports in Specialist Banking said this week, with the bank revealing new details about its strategy.

Starling’s Head of SME Banking Stuart Doignie spoke with the publication during the RFi Group Global Business Banking Summit, noting that the bank plans to introduce unsecured business loans sometime this year. Loans may be between £5,000 ($6,540 USD) and £250,000, or larger, depending on demand and interest.

However, the company, which operates on a mobile-first platform to target smaller businesses, will not aim for an entirely automated lending service.

“We don’t think we’re going to automate every lending decision,” said Doignie. “I think you’d be crazy to think that. But we want to obviously get to a point where we can deliver [as much] of that decision and experience as we can in an automated way.”

The publication said Starling indicated it is able to underwrite loans, but will look to expand its staff to roll out the small business lending service and handle additional processes.

“Whether it be an appeal to a decision, or perhaps looking to some of those more extenuating circumstances,” noted Doignie of Starling’s plans to add new staff in the small business lending space.

Last month, Starling announced that it secured £60 million in venture capital, with the Series C funding led by Merian Global Investors. At the time, reports said Starling planned to use the investment to focus on its small business banking services and expand across Europe.

The company introduced business banking services last year after initially coming onto the market as a retail banking disruptor, pointing to a “highly concentrated” corporate banking sector “with a few big players for too long,” according to Starling Bank Founder and Chief Executive Anne Boden.