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Revolut appoints new UK boss as it struggles to get banking license

Nikolay Storonsky, founder and CEO of Revolut.

Harry Murphy | Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

European fintech firm Revolut on Thursday said it appointed former Barclays executive Francesca Carlesi as its new U.K. CEO.

Carlesi, who also worked at Deutsche Bank and has 15 years of experience in financial services, was most recently CEO of digital mortgage lender Molo Finance.

A spokesperson for Revolut told CNBC that the move was not linked to its application for a banking license.

Carlesi would be in charge of the company’s U.K. operation — which, once it receives a banking license, would manage the Revolut banking division.

The appointment comes at a time when Revolut is beefing up its local operation amid a long wait to obtain a coveted British banking license. A company spokesperson declined to comment on the status of the company’s application.

A banking license would allow Revolut, which is one of one of the companies featured in CNBC and Statista’s list of the top 200 global fintech firms, to offer lending products, including mortgages, personal loans and credit cards. It would also enable Revolut to get a stickier userbase, which would benefit from insurance on deposits of up to £85,000.

This could become a potentially lucrative line of business for the firm, letting it earn interest income — at a time when interest rates are at multi-year highs.

Since applying in 2021, Revolut has been in negotiations with the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority about getting licensed in the U.K. It has so far faced pushback amid issues surrounding internal working culture, accounting issues, and complex share structures.

Revolut was late to file its accounts earlier this year, which exposed the company to criticisms over whether it is ready to become a fully licensed bank. For its part, Revolut says it has been working to improve its internal controls.

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