Monzo, a U.K.-based challenger, has applied with U.S. regulators to obtain a de novo bank charter, which would allow it to provide a full suite of banking products without the need to piggyback with an FDIC-insured partner.
Monzo has already launched its digital banking app in the U.S., under a beta rollout with its FDIC-insured partner Sutton Bank.
However Monzo officials hope to become one of the first European challengers to gain approval for a more robust offering in the U.S., which would include lending and deposit accounts.
“We believe that Monzo will be able to provide American consumers with better banking and financial products than current offerings in the U.S. market, with lower fees and charges, better customer service and a superior digital app experience than customers expect,” Monzo USA President TS Anil, wrote in a letter to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Monzo plans to build on its current LA offices for the U.S. business, by opening an office in San Francisco, where there are talented candidates for product, engineering and financial services. Part of the Monzo team will continue to operate from LA.
The beta account that Monzo has includes many of the same popular features in the U.K. version, including instant spending notifications, fee-free spending abroad and the ability to freeze and unfreeze your card.
Varo Money, a San Francisco-based mobile banking service, got historic approval from the FDIC in February to obtain deposit insurance in its quest to become a fully regulated bank.
Cover image: Monzo