Starling Bank: its incredible exploding assets and a PR focus that ignored 50% of the bank’s job

The only thing more inevitable than the slow crash of cryptos has been the trainwreck that is Starling. Call me old-fashioned but a bank that can’t sensibly lend out the money it is bringing in doesn’t have much of a business model.

Starling made little efforts to build up its loan origination – that should have been at least half of the plan from day one. Its marketing and PR efforts seemed to completely ignore that absolutely vital (but perhaps less glamorous) job in favour of focusing on CEO profile pieces. Very similar to the misallocation of marketing and PR spend at Metro ie personal profile and attracting deposits with little focus on PR to sensibly deploy those deposits.

When it finally got round to originating loans, the assets that the bank piled up were about as bad as you could get. That was apparent to anyone that bothered to look at their Pillar 3.

After Metro Bank and the GFC you would have thought we were all wise to that.

It is tempting to focus PR efforts on proving that you are a challenger or a disruptor but that shouldn’t distract from the less glamorous PR and marketing task – which is that it’s all about building up origination and both sides of the balance sheet.


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