Euro Accounts Strategy

Hi @edoardomoreni :wave:t2: Just wondered whether you’re able to share any thoughts on whether euro accounts in English-speaking markets is something you’ll go after in the future? In Ireland for example there are no aggregator apps so far as I can see, so it’s a 5 million person untapped opportunity :slight_smile: I’ve seen a few threads where people have discussed this (e.g. I’d asked for N26 in one of them, and I saw other people asking for KBC Ireland for example). Aware you may just say “nope, not a strategic choice for us” but thought it’d make sense to pull the discussion into a single thread and I’d love to hear your perspective. If it is something you’re considering, could I suggest a sticky-post for most-wanted English-language euro accounts? Thanks!

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Hey @grintoul,

so our strategy is very simple: “Expand to all the english speaking countries first”.

The main reasoning behind this is that it does’t increase our operations: “The app stays the same, the team too”.

That’s why we are not looking to grow in any EU countries in the short term, unless the APIs work in the same way as the UK (they don’t) and we can move very fast.

Ireland is very small (we are currently live in the US) and so it only makes sense if we can go live in a couple of days or less - we are looking into it.

ps: we’ll never open in Germany, this is for sure.

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Great, thanks for the clarity :slight_smile: Much appreciated! I assume where you said you’ll never go live in Germany that means no N26, even though they also trade in Ireland under EU passporting rules?

It doesn’t really make sense for us.

It’s not a primary account and the majority of people with N26 EUR have accounts we don’t support.

If there was a single API and they were live in UK, it would have made lots of sense. :slight_smile:

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No problem. Thanks, really appreciate the transparency! :slight_smile: I’ll continue to track my N26 and KBC accounts manually then

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Full disclosure, I have a N26 EUR account. :sweat_smile:

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It’s good, isn’t it? They didn’t have a good offering in the UK, but I think that’s because the UK already had so many strong fintechs that they just couldn’t compete. Compared to the Irish market, however… I moved here a few months ago and my Irish legacy bank feels like something from the 90s :eyes::weary:

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Another vote from me for KBC!

@edoardomoreni are at least some of the Republic of Ireland APIs identical, but obviously in the euro currency?

E.g. at a guess, Ulster Bank probably uses exactly the same IT as Northern Ireland? So I imagine you could integrate quickly there. Then you just have to add Bank of Ireland, AIB (which is worth having supported as AIB UK operates in Northern Ireland so you are adding a Bank for your core UK customers too) and KBC for pretty much full support of the Irish market.

Seems like is wouldn’t take too long, so fingers crossed?!

PS: I really appreciate the transparency from you and the whole team at Emma. Keep it up!

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I also wonder whether we’d need to registered and be approved by a European regulator because of Brexit

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Hi Joel :wave:

I believe the current position is that we expect FCA regulated firms to possibly be recognised by the EBA, but this would only be if the U.K. & EU agree to the “principle of mutual recognition”, whereby we recognise each other’s standards.

If this doesn’t happen, then after the transition period is over you probably would need to be regulated by a European Union entity - although this would at least only have to be done once to allow you to operate in the whole EU 27, so at least there is that.

The truth is we simply don’t know at moment, because we still don’t know what the future relationship will look like or what terms there might be.

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Yes, we need to.

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Just to add to my own comment (I know!), I have just thought of a bit more context I could have added.

The principle of mutual recognition is supposed to be the direction of travel under the withdrawal agreement, since there were provisions in there about maintaining a “level playing field” between the U.K. and EU - this would basically mean that the standards would be unlikely to diverge too far and, as a result, there likely wouldn’t be much problem with reciprocal recognition of each-other’s standards.

However, pre-coronavirus, the political arguments of the day were all about the EU accusing the U.K. government of trying to renege on the previous commitment/“assurances” that they would sign up to a “level playing field”, or what were known as the “level playing field provisions in the political declaration”.

We will have to see how this sorts itself out, but it would be a shame for Emma to launch in Ireland, as you would be allowed to right now, and then have to either close or apply for a European license at the end of the transition.

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Just had to put a cheque into my Irish account (not my choice - the government insisted on sending me one rather than doing a bank transfer :man_facepalming:) and it will take 7-10 days to clear. SEVEN TO TEN DAYS :scream: What are they doing, mining metal to make coins before they can add it to my account?!