Starling Bank avoids Facebook over fraudulent ads – UKTN

Starling Bank avoids Facebook over fraudulent ads – UKTN

The UK’s defiant Starling Bank has suspended all paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram because it says people are losing money to scammers who post fraudulent ads on the platforms.

“We want to protect our customers and the integrity of our brand,” said Ann Bowden, CEO and founder of Starling Bank. “And we can no longer pay to advertise on the platform along with scammers who are after the savings of our customers and customers of other banks.”

In December, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, said it would follow Google in accepting ads for financial services only if the advertiser was authorized by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), or if certain exceptions applied.

“This is good news,” Boden said, adding that until something similar takes effect, “we have stopped all paid ads on Facebook and Instagram.”

In an annual letter published Thursday, Boden added that she hopes Facebook’s focus on the metaverse “does not distract from doing what’s right today, here and now in the UK in 2022.”

A Meta spokesperson said: “Meta has committed to introducing a new onboarding process this year that will require UK regulated financial services to be authorized by the FCA before serving financial services ads on our platforms. Promoting financial fraud is against our policies and we are dedicating significant resources to address this issue. Industry-wide on and off our platforms. To combat this, we are not only working to detect and reject deceptive ads on our services, but also block advertisers.”

Founded in 2014, Starling is a digital bank that provides personal and business accounts, along with B2B banking and payment services.

More than 2.7 million accounts have been opened with the London-based company. Of these, 475,000 are for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Boden has confirmed that this year it plans to launch a software-as-a-service (SaaS) that will provide Starling licenses for its digital banking technology suite.

Last year, Starling raised a total of £322 million, of which £272 million was in a Series D funding round in March. This investment gave the bank the status of unicorns – privately owned companies valued at a billion dollars or more.

The following month, US investment bank Goldman Sachs added an additional £50m.

While Starling has had a fruitful year in fundraising, Boden highlighted the overall decline in funding raised by women founders.

“Why go back, when all the evidence points to the huge benefits of diverse teams?” Boden said. Could it be that in so-called normal times, when there is less uncertainty, investors seem willing to ‘seize the opportunity’ in women’s financing?

“They are doing the right thing because they know people are watching. I suspect the changes are during a crisis, in this case a pandemic.”

Bowden added that in 2022 Starling will engage in a “targeted M&A strategy focused on select lending originators.”

In July last year, Starling acquired mortgage lender Fleet Mortgages for £50m.

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