As Revolut Registers Record $545 Million Profit, CEO Nikolay Storonsky Optimistic of UK Bank License Approval

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The CEO of British financial technology giant Revolut expressed optimism about the company’s prospects of obtaining a U.K. banking license, as a surge in users helped the firm achieve record full-year pre-tax profits.

In an exclusive interview, Nikolay Storonsky, Revolut’s CEO and co-founder, conveyed confidence in securing the British bank license after overcoming significant hurdles in the three-year-long approval process from regulators.

“Hopefully, sooner or later, we’ll get it,” Storonsky said in a video call. He mentioned that regulators are “still working on it” and have not yet raised any major concerns.

Storonsky explained that Revolut’s large size has prolonged the approval process compared to smaller companies. Several small financial institutions with fewer customers have managed to secure banking licenses more swiftly.

“U.K. banking licenses are being approved for smaller companies,” Storonsky said. “They usually approve someone twice every year,” typically smaller institutions. “Of course, we are very large, so it takes extra time.”

Revolut currently holds a license as an electronic money institution (EMI) in the U.K., but this does not permit the offering of lending products such as credit cards, personal loans, or mortgages. A bank license would enable Revolut to provide these loans in the U.K. The firm filed its application in 2021 and has faced delays.

One significant issue was the company’s share structure, which was inconsistent with the Prudential Regulation Authority’s rulebook, the regulatory body under the Bank of England. Revolut had multiple classes of shares, some with preferential rights. One of the Bank of England’s conditions for granting the license was to consolidate these six classes of shares into ordinary shares.

Revolut addressed this issue by reaching an agreement with Japanese tech investor SoftBank, transferring its shares to a unified class and relinquishing preferential rights. This resolution with SoftBank was first reported by sources familiar with the matter.