The road to a bank license hasn’t been easy. Varo has been working on a national bank charter since its inception almost five years ago. Now, with the first national charter awarded to a fintech in the U.S., the challenger bank has a lot of work to do.
“It’s not trivial,” said Philippa Girling, chief risk officer at Varo, at Tearsheet’s inaugural Challengers Conference held last week. “It’s been a slog. There is a lot of work to do.”
Varo is planning to launch multiple products aimed at servicing its current and future customers. First up is small dollar lending, something made easier and more profitable with a banking license. Many challenger banks offer some type of lending, either on their own or through a partner bank. Varo plans to join them. The challenger bank is already looking at innovative uses of alternative data to help provide credit to its 2.5 million users.
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