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Fintech Revolut Loses CFO as It Awaits Banking License

2 mins In Brief

  • Revolut weathers the second high-level departure in as many months as it seeks a UK banking license.
  • The firm has awaited a license for 28 months, while already holding a European banking license.
  • Securing a UK banking license could boost the reputation of neobanks and fintech firms providing retail services.
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 Fintech Revolut Loses CFO as It Awaits Banking License

As it pursues a quest to obtain a banking license in its home country, London-based fintech firm Revolut has bid farewell to a prominent member of its team. On the heels of a high-profile departure in March.

The crypto-friendly neobank Revolut has just lost another of its key figures. A Financial Times story reported that the firm said goodbye to Chief Financial Officer Mikko Salovaara on Thursday.

Revolut Seeks License

A CNBC report said that Salovaara left for “personal reasons” and did not elaborate. Whatever the reason, this is the second high-profile staff change at Revolut in as many months. James Radford, CEO of Revolut NewCo UK, departed in March. 

News of the departures comes as Revolut fights to be a full-fledged bank in the UK.

The company’s British arm has been trying to obtain a UK banking license, but the firm has now been waiting 28 months. It received a European banking license from the Bank of Lithuania in December 2021. In November 2021, the company’s founder, Nik Storonsky, expressed hope the company could obtain a UK banking license by early 2022.

Revolut purports to be the UK’s most valuable fintech company. Its current valuation is a reported $33 billion. Yet the company is in dire straits at present. In March, its auditors, BDO, warned that revenues “may be materially misstated.” The accounts for 2021 were also handed in late, raising eyebrows. 

BDO was unable to verify a full three-quarters of the $765 million in revenues indicated in the firm’s 2021 accounts, a Reuters story noted.

“Materially misstated” is a serious charge to make. It refers to significant errors or omissions in financial statements that can have a substantial effect on the reading of a company’s books. 

However, Revolut attempted to rebrand the critical audit report as a clean bill of health.

The Financial Conduct Authority has also mandated a review of the firm’s working culture, after staff complaints of unachievable targets. Executives have since said it has improved.

A New Breed of Bank

Neobanks—often known as “challenger banks“—are digital banks that don’t have physical branches. They offer banking services through mobile apps and online platforms.

If Revolut receives a banking license from the UK, it may significantly bolster the reputation of other neobanks and fintechs offering banking-like services.

“Oversight and transparency are paramount for any organization—but particularly for those offering financial services,” said Joe Ziolkowski, the CEO and co-founder of Relm Insurance, in a discussion with BeInCrypto.

“Revolut’s ongoing inability to secure a U.K. bank license may be another indication that neobanks have not yet reached the degree of sophistication and trustworthiness that customers should expect. Oversight plays a very important role in protecting both investors and customers—and the same protections should extend to banks in the digital space as well,” he added.

Since its launch, Revolut has rolled out over 50 products and services. Including crypto trading, wage advance, holiday insurance and home rentals, wage advance, and buy now, pay later.

BeInCrypto reached out to Revolut for comment on this story, but a spokesperson said the firm does not comment on ongoing regulatory applications.

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