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Jazz Shaper: Anne Boden

Posted on 24 September 2022

Anne Boden is the founder and CEO of Starling Bank, a leading UK digital consumer bank.

After a career at the pinnacle of some of the world's top banks, Anne became disillusioned with banking in the aftermath of the financial crash of 2008/09. She quit the sector to start her own bank from scratch. In defying the odds to realise her vision for Starling, she helped reshape consumer banking in the UK and trigger a movement that is shaking up the entire banking system for good. Anne’s technology know-how shaped her 30 year career in banking and she is widely considered as a thought-leader in the fintech sector. She was awarded an MBE for services to fintech in 2018 and sits on the Business Advisory Councils of both the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London. 

Highlights

I think I like to prove that it is possible that I can do it.  You can change the world.   

People told me throughout my early career that it couldn’t be done. But I like a challenge. 

Did I think I was discriminated against because I was a woman or whatever? No, I didn’t. I thought life was going to be fair.  It’s only looking back now that I see that life was different.   

I didn’t realise that in some respects, I didn’t really take on board all the various issues that made me different.  It’s only now, in as looking back that I can see that some of the frustrations of the time weren’t my fault, it was the system.   

I realised that the banking industry had lost its way; it was doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons and somebody should be brave enough to start a bank. It took me a while to realise that that person could be me. 

So many people had committed their time, their effort, set aside things they wanted to do with a vision of creating a new bank - I had to succeed. We had to succeed. 

We wanted to deliver what we needed to, to customers, which I felt had been really let down by the financial system.   

Technology is really, really exciting. Technology is changing so fast.   

I want to be the best technology bank, where we are offering the best technology to customers. But I also want us to have a heart and talk to customers and that is because it is really, really difficult to do that. 

It is so easy for big organisations to put a barrier between them and the customer, to let somebody else deal with the pain the customers are going through. 

I think that the financial services industry and founders in the tech industry need to appreciate how success is fun and not always complain about it.   

Get out there, talk about what you want to do. Start something, be brave. You’re not going to launch a business if nobody knows about it.   

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