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Revolut scores European licence in bid to become Amazon of banking
Revolut hopes to become the “Amazon of banking”. Photo: Resolut

UK finance app Revolut has been granted a European banking licence, edging one step closer to becoming the “Amazon of banking”.

The company, which became Britain’s first digital-only bank to break even last December, will begin implementing the licence next year, initially focusing on smaller European countries and eventually extending to key markets including the UK, France, Germany and Poland.

The licence will allow Revolut’s three million global users to deposit salaries up to £100,000 ($125,600) through the app, safe in the assurance that their money will be protected under the new European Deposit Insurance scheme.

Nik Storonsky, founder and CEO of Revolut, said: “With the banking license now secured, commission-free stock trading progressing well and five new international markets at final stages of launch, we are living up to our reputation as ‘the Amazon of banking’. Our vision is simple: one app with tens of millions of users, where you can manage every aspect of your financial life with the best value and technology.”

The app, which was launched three years ago, first gained popularity with users by letting them spend and transfer money abroad at the real exchange rate with no additional fees. Since then, it has attracted customers with spending overviews, budgeting controls and savings features, and expanded to offer travel insurance and property investment.

READ MORE: Revolut breaks even as it prepares for global expansion

In December last year, the company began offering its customers the ability to buy and sell exposure to cryptocurrencies from within the app, and in August it announced plans to launch commission-free stock trading across the UK and Europe.

After implementing the new licence, Revolut said it plans to start offering full current accounts, overdrafts and both personal and business loans at competitive rates to traditional high street lenders.

“Our vision is that retail and business customers will be able to apply for a loan in just two minutes within the app, and then have the money in their account almost instantly,” said Storonsky. “We’ll remove the bureaucratic process and come in cheaper than traditional lenders.”

Revolut said that it could take up to six months to begin passporting the licence across Europe. In the meantime, the company is focusing on plans to extend its current services to the US, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Australia and New Zealand in early 2019.

Brexit is taking a 'considerable bite out of banking jobs'
City of London. Photo: Reuters

Uncertainty over the Brexit deal is continuing to hurt banking jobs.

According to data sent to Yahoo Finance UK from global professional services recruiter Morgan McKinley, “Brexit is taking a considerable bite out of banking jobs and with an ambiguous Brexit deal on the table, the City’s bracing for more pain ahead.”

Month-on-month data in November, shows that there was a 4% decrease in jobs available and a 39% decrease in jobs available year-on-year.

Chart: McKinley

Meanwhile, there was a 14% decrease in professionals seeking roles month-on-month, equating to a 28% decrease year-on-year.

Average salary change for November was 21%. Chart: McKinley

Britain has just under four months to go until it leaves the European Union. The likelihood of the UK crashing out of the bloc grows by the day.

This week, prime minister Theresa May delayed the crucial parliamentary Brexit vote on the agreement she sealed with the EU, as it was likely that she’d suffer a devastating defeat. The cancellation of the vote sent the pound into a downwards spiral.

The uncertainty is a huge issue as it makes it highly difficult for banks, businesses, and citizens to understand what the rules and regulations will be around trade and immigration when Brexit occurs on 29 March 2019.

McKinley noted that while Brexit is unlikely to stop “ambitious professionals” from around the world seeking out London for career advancement, clarity over immigration rules is essential for financial services to manage their future workforce.

“If visa regulations aren’t modernised, the government will shrink the City’s talent pool, effectively shrinking the economy,” said Hakan Enver, Managing Director, Morgan McKinley.

McKinley said it hopes that even if the UK government decides to curb migration from the EU, it will be offset by the easing of visa barriers for qualified professionals from highly competitive hubs in Asia and the United States.

“We are forced to think outside the EU paradigm, which is uncomfortable and disappointing, but also offers opportunities for a truly meritocratic visa system that would enable recruitment from top financial services cities and tech hubs worldwide,” said Enver.

Over the last two years, banks have been moving jobs and their European headquarters away from London, in a bid to prepare themselves for the worst case Brexit scenario. Most recently, Bank of America (BAC) completed the move of its European headquarters from London to Dublin while more than 100 British funds are seeking post-Brexit licences in Dublin.

In June, more than a third of the 222 large UK-based financial services firms tracked by global accounting firm EY said that they were either considering or had decided to move some operations or staff from the UK to elsewhere in the EU.