HSBC invests in Estonian-founded banking app Monese

HSBC, the largest bank in Europe, has made a US$35 million investment in the London-based banking app, Monese, founded by the Estonian entrepreneur, Norris Koppel.

The investment was made by HSBC Ventures that provides capital to support growth initiatives for global clients specialising in innovation and technology. The investment that will be used to support the continued growth of the banking app, brings the total raised by Monese to US$208 million, the company said in a statement.

Monese was founded in the UK by the Estonian entrepreneur, Norris Koppel, in 2013. Koppel got the idea for the business through personal experience. When he first arrived in the UK in early 2000s, his application for a current account at a major high-street bank was declined because he could not provide local proof of address and did not yet have a credit history in the country – a common problem for a huge number of recent immigrants.

Monese’s service was launched in the UK in 2015, offering a mobile-based current account and accompanying debit card that supports cash deposits and withdrawals. There are no credit checks and customers don’t need local proof of address.

The company said that “Monese and HSBC are closely aligned in their commitment to opening up the full extent of digital banking possibilities” and “the investment is part of a broader, strategic partnership”.

“Securing the support of a tier one global bank demonstrates the strength of our platform and the continued appetite from investors in the platform. I am delighted to have such a distinguished partner and investor in HSBC, who brings a great deal of experience in delivering exceptional banking services. We look forward to taking this partnership forward,” Koppel said in a statement.

Norris Koppel, the CEO of Monese; photo by Andrew Fosker / PinPep.

Taylan Turan, head of retail banking and strategy, wealth and personal banking at HSBC, said in a statement that “this new partnership is a key step towards helping us deliver digital wealth and banking tools at pace and scale, combining Monese’s fintech credentials with our own global wealth and banking capabilities.”

HSBC traces its origin in British Hong Kong, and its present form was established in London by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (its name derives from that company’s initials) to act as a new group holding company in 1991. It is the largest bank in Europe and eighth in the world by total assets, with US$2.953 trillion as of December 2021.

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