Volt Bank has announced the appointment of Julian Sawyer as an official adviser, harnessing his international experience in European neobanks.
The Australian neobank highlighted Mr Sawyer’s experience in the international fintech space, which includes co-founding UK neobank Starling (where he was formerly chief operating officer).
Like Volt, Starling was one of the first neo-lenders in the UK to receive a banking licence and employs a similar platform-based banking model.
According to the Australian neobank, Mr Sawyer helped build Starling from the ground up, with the UK neobank now holding more than £1 billion ($1.89 billion) in deposits, and more than 1 million personal and business accounts.
Mr Sawyer is currently the managing director (Europe) of cryptocurrency exchange company Gemini. While he will remain in his full-time role with Gemini in Europe, he has now been engaged to work with Volt on a long-term advisory basis.
Volt CEO and co-founder Steve Weston commented on the announcement: “Mr Sawyer’s global experience and detailed knowledge of processes and systems in digital banking will provide Volt with invaluable insights on our own journey to [more than] 1 million customers.
“His experience in fintech, together with building the platform business at Starling, is particularly relevant to Volt.
“His recent appointment to crypto exchange Gemini also brings another perspective to the Volt management team.”
Mr Weston concluded: “These alignments in strategy, coupled with the fact that the UK and European markets are several years further developed than Australia, will help us avoid potential pitfalls and make more informed decisions as we progress to our public launch next year.”
In a video announcing the new appointment, Mr Weston also stated: “To be able to talk to someone with Julian’s experience – and with his passion for disruptive banking, and with someone who is so values-driven – is like gold to us.”
Speaking of his new role, Mr Sawyer commented: “Building a digital bank from the ground up is no small feat – it requires a pretty special team with a great vision and a practical hands-on attitude that will make things happen.
“This is exactly what I recognised in the culture at Volt,” he said.
“Given the UK and European markets are several years ahead of the Australian market, there are also many learnings that I can share and the team can apply proactively.
“It was with great pleasure that I jumped at the chance to join such a dynamic and visionary team.”
The appointment comes as Volt Bank continues its beta testing, after having launched its first product – a savings account – last month.
The challenger bank began the process of onboarding some of the 40,000 people on the waitlist for its “no catches” savings account.
According to the bank, the savings account will not be subject to an introductory rate period or require a minimum monthly deposit or minimum amount of card transactions in order for customers to receive the highest applicable savings rate. It is expected to have an ongoing base rate of 2.15 per cent.
The Volt savings product is due for public launch after the onboarding process is completed in “early 2020”.
[Related: Xinja launches savings product]
Hannah Dowling is a journalist for mortgage business, the leading source of news, opinion and strategy for professionals working in the mortgage industry.
Prior to joining the team at Mortgage Business, Hannah worked as a content producer for a podcast catering to property investors. She also spent 6 years working in the real estate sector at a local agency.
Hannah graduated from Macquarie University with a Bachelor of Media and Journalism.