Business lender Growth Street to join Starling marketplace

By Ryan Weeks on Thursday 19 July 2018

Editor's PickAlternative LendingDigital Banking

Growth Street is a peer-to-peer lending platform specialising in alternative overdrafts.

Leading digital bank Starling will add business lending platform Growth Street to its budding marketplace of third-party products. At the end of summer, Growth Street will become the first SME finance provider to join the marketplace, and the partnership will mark the first live use of the lender’s third-party API.

The integration – made possible by the Open Banking framework – will allow Starling’s business customers to access Growth Street’s flagship funding product, GrowthLine, from within the banking app. Those customers will be able to see real-time information on how much they can borrow and available funds, again without ever having to leave their Starling account.

GrowthLine is best described as a flexible overdraft. Borrowers are given a limit and may draw down funds flexibly, making repayments as often as they like in any given month.

“I’m thrilled that we are now live on Starling’s Business Marketplace. We want to make business finance easier and faster than ever before, and giving users access to crucial information in real time is a great step towards that goal,” said Greg Carter, CEO of Growth Street, in a statement.

Growth Street shares a vision with Starling: we both want to help businesses grow and prosper. Having the chance to make that happen together is very exciting.”

Anne Boden (pictured), CEO of Starling, said the partnership would help to ‘unlock new sources of flexible capital’ for small businesses.

Starling launched its business accounts in March of this year, not long after formally going live for consumer customers.

Both Starling and its rival neo-bank Revolut offer business accounts with marketplaces of third-party products attached. But the Growth Street partnership seems to signal a crucial point of difference: Starling is clearly content to outsource some business lending, whereas Revolut confirmed for AltFi in March that it would seek to underwrite its own loans – effectively making it a competitor to the likes of Growth Street.

Peer-to-peer lender Growth Street was granted full authorisation from the FCA in April of this year, paving the way for the launch of its Innovative Finance ISA.

A priority for Starling in the near-term – as made plain in a recent job listing – is to win a major slice of the £425m RBS Remedies Fund, which will issue rewards to help smaller banks and other financial services firms enhance their business banking offerings. Starling will no doubt hope that having Growth Street on board as a partner strengthens its case.


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