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Varo Money Applies for U.S. Banking Charter

Varo Money isn’t waiting for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to finalize its controversial fintech charter plan. The mobile banking startup is looking to become a true challenger bank, complete with a national bank charter.

The San Francisco-based company announced on July 25 that it has applied to the OCC for a national bank charter and to the FDIC for federal deposit insurance to form Varo Bank N.A.

“We founded Varo because we believe many people could benefit from an easier, more affordable way to manage their money and reach their financial goals with just a few taps on their mobile phone,” said Colin Walsh, co-founder and CEO of Varo Money. “To do this, we got customers involved in an iterative process from the beginning. We wanted to offer more than just checking, savings and lending products—we wanted to help our customers solve financial problems, fix the fundamentals, and guide them toward a better financial future. As a national bank, Varo will be able to help Americans nationwide.”

Last month, Varo Money launched in the Apple App Store through a partnership with The Bancorp Bank, which provides private-label banking services. The Varo app enables customers to manage cash-flow, track spending and see all their accounts—not just those with Varo—while also handling everyday banking.

With a national bank charter, Varo says it will be able to offer its customers access to a full range of products and solutions and the highest standards of consumer protection.

Vote for Varo as one of the 5 Best Challenger Banks by July 31.


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