Go and Nimble shoot for banking status

George Lekakis Latest news
Nimble CEO Gavin Slater says the fintech wants to build a digital bank for millennials.
Nimble CEO Gavin Slater says the fintech wants to build a digital bank for millennials.

The number of fintechs seeking authorisation from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority continues to swell, with several more industry aspirants confirming they have applied for banking licences.

Sydney fintech Go Limited, established last year by CreditorWatch founders Colin Porter and Dale Hurley, revealed on its website that it recently lodged an application for a restricted banking licence.

Go, which has sourced seed capital from private equity firm Nightingale Partners, is aiming to take on Judo and the four major banks in the small business lending market.

The banking aspirant says it plans to focus on providing financial products to “underserviced SME customers”.

“Go is currently undergoing the restricted licencing application process, which is a new licencing regime introduced by the prudential regulator in early 2018,” the company explains on its homepage.

“Go's approach in entering underserviced markets and offering innovative propositions is very much in line with the intent of the new licencing regime, that is, to foster innovation and provide competition to existing banks.”

Go has set up headquarters in Martin Place and recently appointed Westpac’s former head of regulatory affairs Charlotte Middleton as its chief risk officer.

Another player angling for a banking licence is payday lender Nimble Money, which is now led by former National Australia Bank executive, Gavin Slater.

“We are at the very early stages of having conversations with APRA,” Slater told the Switzer Financial Group in an interview posted on YouTube.

Nimble is planning to widen its customer base for its personal lending business and enter the mortgage market.

According to Slater, the medium term objective is to build a digital bank aimed at millennial customers.

When asked what he thought about Nimble’s chances of securing a licence, Slater said: “From my perspective and certainly from the conversations I’ve had with APRA they certainly look for  organisations that have senior bankers with experience in financial services both on the board and in the management team and we certainly have that. We are a going concern, we have a credit licence and we have a proven track record of lending money responsibly. So, I think our chances are pretty good.”

However, Slater acknowledged that Nimble had much to “work through” with the regulator in terms of risk management, governance and capital management, to foster innovation and provide competition to existing banks.