U.K.-based neobank Monzo named Conor Walsh its new U.S. CEO, Monzo Chief Operations Officer Sujata Bhatia said Wednesday at the Sifted Summit in London.
Walsh joins the neobank after serving six years as head of global product at payments fintech Cash App, according to his LinkedIn profile. He replaces Carol Nelson, who stepped down last year, according to Sifted. Nelson was tapped to head Monzo’s U.S. operations in 2021 after former U.S. CEO TS Anil was promoted to the company’s overall CEO role.
The move signals the neobank is renewing efforts to capture the North American market, after backtracking on an attempt to secure a U.S. banking charter to help it expand in the region.
Monzo withdrew its application for a charter with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in October 2021 after it became clear the regulator likely would not approve it, the fintech told the Financial Times.
The firm, however, does not have plans to make another bid for a U.S. charter, Bhatia told Sifted in February, while detailing the fintech’s plans to find a new U.S. CEO.
“The banking license isn’t a thing for us — it’s not all that critical in the U.S.,” Bhatia told the publication.
In a statement to AltFi, Walsh said he is a “long-time admirer” of the U.K. neobank and is excited to expand the fintech’s product and mission in the U.S.
“I’ve seen first-hand the difference it can make to provide access to world-class financial solutions to everyone, and Monzo is at the forefront of that journey,” said Walsh, who also served as CEO of mobile payments provider Verse.
Monzo is not the only European fintech to try and grab a share of the U.S. banking landscape. The crowded market, however, has presented challenges for new players, which face stiff competition from traditional banks, as well as other U.S.-based challenger banks.
U.K. neobank Revolut, which launched in the U.S. in 2020, submitted a draft application with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation in March 2021 to obtain a banking license.
Berlin-based N26 ultimately abandoned a 2½-year stateside push to expand in the U.S. in November 2021, after launching its app to a 100,000-customer waitlist in July 2019.
Other European fintechs, like Amsterdam-based Bunq, however, remain bullish on the U.S. market.
The fintech announced in April that it had applied for a U.S. bank charter, an expensive and time-consuming endeavor that CEO Ali Niknam said was worth the effort.
“At Bunq we’d rather do things right than rush things,” he told Banking Dive in August. “And for us to be able to deliver the user experience that we want to deliver, we need to have end-to-end control on the entire chain. And the only way for us to be able to do that is by having our own bank.”