British challenger bank Starling has stopped all paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram because it says people are losing money to scammers posting fraudulent ads on the platforms.
“We want to protect our customers and the integrity of our brand,” said Anne Boden, CEO and Founder of Starling Bank. “And we can no longer pay to advertise on a platform alongside scammers who prey on the savings of our customers and those of other banks.”
In December, Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta announced that it follow google to accept financial services advertisements only if the advertiser has been authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of the United Kingdom or if certain exemptions apply.
“This is good news,” Boden said, adding that until something similar takes effect “we have stopped all paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram.”
Write in a annual letter Posted on Thursday, Boden added that she hopes Facebook’s focus on the metaverse “doesn’t become a distraction from doing what’s right today, here and now in the UK in 2022.”
A spokesperson for Meta said: ‘Meta is committed to introducing a new onboarding process this year that will require regulated financial services in the UK to be FCA licensed before serving financial services ads on our platforms. Promoting financial scams is against our policies and we devote significant resources to resolving this industry-wide problem on and off our platforms. To combat this, we not only work to detect and reject fraudulent advertisements on our services, but also to block advertisers.
Founded in 2014, Starling is a digital bank that offers personal and business accounts, as well as B2B banking and payment services.
More than 2.7 million accounts have been opened with the London-based company. Of these, 475,000 are intended for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Boden has confirmed that he plans to launch its Software as a Service (SaaS) offering this year in which Starling launches its digital banking technology stack.
Last year, Starling raised a total of £ 322million, including £ 272million in a Series D funding round in March. This investment gave the bank unicorn status – private companies valued at $ 1 billion or more.
The following month, US investment bank Goldman Sachs added an additional £ 50million.
While Starling has had a successful year of fundraising, Boden noted the overall decline in fundraising raised by female founders.
“Why are we backing down, when all the evidence points to the enormous benefits of diverse teams? Boden said. “Could it be that in so-called normal times, where there is less uncertainty, investors seem ready to ‘tempt’ women in financing?
“They do what’s right because they know people are watching. I suspect that changes during a crisis, in this case the pandemic. “
Boden added that in 2022, Starling will embark on a “targeted mergers and acquisitions strategy focused on selected loan originators.”
In July last year, Starling acquired rental lender Fleet Mortgages for £ 50million.