Starling stirs interest from big lenders 

Lloyds Banking Group and JPMorgan could make a play for the digital challenger bank founded by Anne Boden

Anne Boden
Starling founder Anne Boden 

Lloyds Banking Group and JPMorgan have declined to comment on reports they could be interested in buying digital challenger bank Starling.

The UK's largest high street lender and America's biggest bank by assets turned their attention to Starling, founded by Anne Boden, after it opened a data room as part of a plan to raise £200m in new funding, The Times reported.

However, it is unclear whether Starling would want to put itself up for sale.

Ms Boden has insisted she would never sell to a big bank and would prefer to list the lender on the stock market.

Earlier this month Starling became the first digital challenger bank to be profitable with an £800,000 operating profit for October, as its rivals continue to record large losses.

“I’ve always said that I didn’t do this to sell out to a big bank, and I think that’s still true,” Ms Boden told The Telegraph in September.

“It’s too early [to say for sure]. Now is the exciting stage because profitability will give us an awful lot of options.”

A Starling spokesperson said on Saturday: “Anne has always said she will never sell to a big bank. An IPO is still in our sights.”

JPMorgan is preparing to launch a consumer bank in the UK next year, while Lloyds is thought to be interested in Starling’s technology.

Starling's main shareholders include Bermuda-based Harry McPike and Merian Global investors. 

Its customer numbers rose earlier this year when it was accredited to lend government-backed Bounce Back and coronavirus business interruption loans.

Spokesman for JPMorgan and Lloyds both declined to comment on their interest.