Australia's lending incumbents face threat as challenger banks enter fray

Volt Bank has finally managed to nab a full banking license.

Fintech startup Volt Bank can now start accepting deposits after it became Australia’s first challenger bank to receive a full banking license in a development highlighting the growing threat neo-banks pose to traditional players, reports Sydney Morning Herald. 

Also read: Challenger banks launch in Australia as big four reel from scandal

Volt previously held a restricted license which meant that it could accept no more than $177,790 (A$250,000) in a single deposit and a maximum of $1.42m (A$2m) in total deposits. The bank's total assets have also been restricted to $71.12m (A$100m).

Beyond retail-related products like savings and transaction accounts, term deposits, personal loans and home loans, the digital-only startup is also planning to add budgeting and savings tools into its capabilities and progressively move into the small business banking scene by 2020.

Other online startups seeking the same fully-fledged banking license from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) include Xinja and 86 400 as they aim to wrestle market share from weakened old-guard players. 

Also read: Bank satisfaction deep dives in Australia after damning probe

The country’s top four lenders - ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac - are facing their worst crisis in recent memory after a probe by the Royal Banking Commission uncovered systemic corporate malpractice which ranges from lying to regulators to falsification of documents and taking bribes.

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