Revolut will begin offering personal loans in Ireland as its foray into the banking market gathers momentum here.
The online bank has opened a waiting list for the loans, the first product Revolut Bank will offer in this country.
The company also announced that it has expanded its user base here to 1.7 million and employs over 100 people in Ireland.
According to Revolut, further credit products such as credit cards will follow later this year.
As part of the full banking license it was granted by the European Central Bank in December, it will also be able to offer its Irish users bank accounts protected by the €100,000 Lithuanian deposit guarantee scheme later this year.
It was also granted an e-money license by the Central Bank of Ireland in the same month.
However, it has chosen not to take advantage of this and will instead conduct the banking operations under the ECB license.
The developments come as nearly 1.5 million Ulster Bank and KBC Bank Ireland customers face the prospect of having to switch banks in the coming months as both lenders prepare to exit the Irish market.
“Following the successful launch of Revolut Bank in 10 additional European markets in January, Revolut Bank is now active in 28 markets across the EEA,” it said in a statement.
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“With Ulster Bank and KBC withdrawing from the Irish market, Irish customers need alternative banking providers rather than an e-money account,” it said.
“Now that Revolut Bank is in a position to bring more competition and choice to the Irish banking market, we no longer plan to serve customers in Ireland with the e-money license that the Central Bank of Ireland approved late last year has,” she added.
Existing Revolut customers and new customers can apply for a personal loan right away, and the company promises a response within seconds.
Daragh Cassidy of changing website Bonkers.ie said the news of Revolut launching banking services here was good for consumers.
“Revolut has literally revolutionized the banking sector since it began operations less than a decade ago,” he said.
“Until now, however, many people still only used their accounts to send money or when traveling abroad. The lack of Revolut lending products and lack of a banking license in Ireland meant people were likely reluctant to consider the fintech for all their banking needs. ” he added.
“This is borne out by the fact that most people still kept their original bank account when they signed up for Revolut,” he explained.
“But that is likely to change and it will be interesting to see how Ireland’s main retail banks: AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB react,” he added.
Mr Cassidy added that it was disappointing that no information about an overdraft offer had been disclosed.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Ireland has defended how it is handling proposed new entrants to the banking market amid reports that fintechs are unhappy with the pace of the licensing process.
Fianna Fáil Senator Malcolm Byrne has called for a major overhaul of the bank in this area and given it a statutory mandate to develop competition in the financial services sector.
In a statement, the central bank said it operates a transparent and robust process for applicants seeking approval and has an active approvals pipeline across all regulated sectors.
“Licensing is an important part of the central bank’s work to protect consumers and investors and ensure the proper functioning of the financial system,” it said.
“The central bank treats applications from companies from all financial sectors in an open, engaging and constructive manner.”