UK-based neobank Monzo has hired a new US CEO as it presses on with a second attempt at stateside expansion.
Conor Walsh — ex-head of global product at US-HQ’d payments fintech Cash App — has taken up the role. He started last month and will be leading Monzo US's product, strategy and growth — as well as hiring.
Monzo COO Sujata Bhatia announced the news in an interview live on stage at Sifted Summit today.
Walsh spent over six years at Cash App and was previously CEO of Verse — a mobile payments provider that was owned by Block and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and operated under the Cash App umbrella.
Monzo’s US expansion 2.0
Walsh isn’t Monzo’s first US CEO: back in 2021, the company appointed Carol Nelson to the role. She stepped down last year after it became clear US regulators were unlikely to approve Monzo’s local banking licence application.
Bhatia says that expansion is in its early days — the team is working out how to “localise the product” for US users, she said. Current features include a tip calculator and specific pots for credit cards.
Bhatia previously told Sifted that the neobank will not be making a second attempt to obtain a US banking licence and will instead partner with a local bank. This means it has to split its revenue with the local bank it chooses.
When it comes to European expansion, today Bhatia said that it’s too early for the company to seriously consider any one market — though she quipped that she’ll “happily lobby for Ibiza as a starting point”.
She also added that Monzo isn’t considering acquisitions as a way into mainland Europe, despite rumours that it was set to snap up Nordic digital challenger bank Lunar earlier this year — rumours that Bhatia would neither confirm nor deny, though she said the fintech is “always open to opportunities”.
Monzo rules out crypto
Monzo recently introduced its first investment offering, launching an in-app investment platform in September that allows users to start investing with as little as £1 in funds managed by BlackRock.
The goal, Bhatia said, is to encourage demographics that don’t feel they have the disposable income to invest.
At the same time, she ruled out offering crypto investments, saying that crypto relies on people making money from “friction in investments”, which Bhatia said does not align with Monzo’s ethos.
Although she said there were never solid plans to offer crypto through the app, last year the company’s cofounder, Jonas Templestein, said Monzo was considering it, and that the crypto crash “probably hasn’t affected” the neobank’s plans to do so.
This now makes UK neobanking rival Revolut something of an outlier in offering crypto: Starling has also rejected crypto investments and trading as a feature it will offer.
On track for profitability next year
Bhatia also said that the neobank has been profitable on a monthly basis since March and that it’s still on track to reveal full-year profitability in its 2023 results, which will be announced early next year. She said that’s thanks to a “diversified set of revenue streams” — which includes lending and the company’s launch of its Flex Buy now, pay later offering.
On the uptake of its Flex and lending products, Bhatia noted that she doesn’t think the product will grow because of increasing credit needs in the face of a cost of living crisis, but rather because it’s a better offering than others on the market.