LONDON: The fast-growing British digital bank Monzo plans to hire up to 500 people and forecasts that it will get 5.5 million users this year, while preparing to have another opportunity to charge some customers for profit.
The company with losses has spent cash to boost growth and launch in the United States, but has had no trouble raising capital and is valued at more than 2 billion pounds.
Launched in 2015, Monzo has attracted 3.8 million customers in Britain with its bright coral card and expense tracking data.
Some younger clients in particular have become fierce advocates, with the digital bank ranked as the most likely brand in Britain to be recommended to a friend in a YouGov survey in November.
Tom Blomfield, the 34-year-old founder and CEO, told Reuters he expected Monzo to exceed 2,000 employees this year, compared to 1,500.
However, the bank has had problems, including the abrupt cancellation of a premium paid account in September after only a few months. He has also been hit by an avalanche of complaints, even from customers who said they had been blocked from their accounts for no reason.
Blomfield said Monzo planned to relaunch the accounts paid in the first quarter of this year, implementing the lessons learned from complaints after its failed attempt in 2019.
“We learned that things that seem like a universal truth when you have 50 people, throwing iteratively since nobody is paying attention when you do that with 3.5 million customers, is nonsense,” said Blomfield.
Blomfield said Monzo’s plan was to float in three or four years and that he hoped the company would be profitable by then.
The bank, which reported a loss of 47.2 million pounds in 2018, is in talks with investors to raise between 50 and 100 million pounds. Blomfield declined to comment on the talks.
“Our real approach is monetization,” he said. “We are looking to generate income and do it in a transparent and fair way.”
Monzo wants to do it by providing more and deploying paid services such as the premium account.
It currently lends 120 million pounds, compared to deposits of 2 billion pounds.
Blomfield said the bank would learn from rivals that failed to replicate success in their country in new markets, including Germany’s N26, which left Britain last week.
“In the United States we are laying the groundwork, but we are not looking for explosive growth,” he said.
“The lesson is that if you take a product and move it unchanged, it doesn’t work well: N26 didn’t connect.”
N26 blamed the complications of obtaining a license after Brexit for leaving Britain.