Monzo cheers first annual profit since 2015 launch

The digital bank now has nearly 10 million customers and is preparing to expand across Europe.

Monzo has unveiled its first annual profit since launching nine years ago
Monzo has unveiled its first annual profit since launching nine years ago

Monzo has unveiled its first annual profit since starting nine years ago as the digital bank prepares to launch in the US and expand across Europe.

Chief executive TS Anil said it was a “landmark year of record growth” for the bank, which now has nearly 10 million customers.

It reported a pre-tax profit of £15.4 million for the year to the end of March, compared with a pre-tax loss of £116.3 million the previous year.

The digital bank, which burst onto the banking scene in 2015, said it was benefiting from having more customers depositing more cash in their accounts.

Customer deposits soared by 88% to £11.2 billion, with Monzo rolling out more features including cash and stocks and shares ISAs (individual savings accounts).

Like other UK banks, it also benefited from generating more income from higher interest rates, which have climbed in recent years in a bid to control the rising cost of living.

On the back of its newfound profitability, Monzo revealed that it is in the early stages of opening an office in Irish capital Dublin, which it described as a “gateway” to help it expand across Europe.

It did not give a date for when the Dublin office will open but said it is set to launch in the “coming months”.

The bank, which is the UK’s seventh largest, is also preparing to launch in the US having recently hired a new leadership team in the region.

It follows a decision to withdraw an application for a banking licence in the country in 2021 when it was told it was unlikely to be approved.

Meanwhile, Mr Anil said the bank saw record numbers of savings pots created over the past year, where customers can put money aside to save for a specific goal, or round up everyday spending and put the cash in a “piggy bank”.

Card spending jumped by 42% this year compared with last.

Monzo – which offers overdrafts, credit cards and loans – revealed that its expected credit losses (ECLs) surged by 75% year on year to £176.9 million.

The ECL is the amount it puts aside to cover losses it expects to make when customers cannot repay the money they have borrowed.

The increase was driven by a growing lending book as well as an increase in some customers falling into arrears on their payments amid the wider cost-of-living crisis, the bank said.

Losses, as a percentage of average lending balances, increased to 9.75% from 7.58% year on year.

Mr Anil said that Monzo is focused on “making sure we lend to customers who we believe can pay us back”.

“In many ways, it is flattering to me that we get compared to banks that have been around for much longer, centuries in most cases, because it establishes that we are a player at scale and we are building a company for the ages,” the chief said.

“And yet, we are still in the infancy of our journey with a huge runway ahead of us.”

He said more and more customers will want to utilise technology to manage their money.