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Birth of a Bank: Varo Money Secures National Charter

It’s been a good year for Varo Money. The company became the preferred destination for clients leaving Moven this spring, when the fintech announced that it was pivoting away from consumer banking in favor of a focus on its financial wellness technology.

A few months later, Varo reported a massive investment of $241 million in Series D investment, taking the mobile banking company’s total capital to more than $419 million.

Today we learn that one of Varo’s biggest goals for 2020 – earning a national bank charter – has been fulfilled. The San Francisco, California-based company has been granted a charter by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and has earned regulatory approvals from both the FDIC and the Federal Reserve, making it now set to launch Varo Bank N.A. Varo is the first consumer-facing, U.S. fintech to accomplish this achievement.

“2020 has been challenging for many of us across the country and has highlighted, once again, how the traditional financial system is not meeting the needs of hardworking, everyday Americans,” Varo Money co-founder and CEO Colin Walsh said. “The ability to operate as a full-service national bank gives Varo more freedom to deliver the kind of innovation and allyship that many Americans have never had from their bank before.”

Launched in 2015, Varo Money offers consumers a digital banking alternative including a savings account with an initial APY of 1.21%, and a checking account that comes with a VISA debit card, and early payday for customers that sign up for direct deposit. Varo’s mobile banking app enables users to check up on their accounts and balances, make transfers and mobile check deposits, monitor incoming and outgoing transactions, and more. The company charges no hidden or overdraft fees for its service, and deposits are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.

Bank charter in hand, Varo will soon be able to offer a broader range of products and services including credit cards, joint accounts, and certificates of deposit.


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