Interview with Symmie Swil, Head of SME Banking at Starling Bank

Starling Interview

Can you tell us about your career to date?

I started my career in investment banking – advising small and medium businesses on strategic acquisitions and raising funds, and then I moved into strategy and operations roles. These just highlighted to me the opportunity that technology and open banking offered to improve banking for small businesses. I moved to Starling because I was so excited by their innovation, amazing customer experience and passion for making banking easier and fairer.

What is your current role?

I am Head of SME Banking at Starling Bank, which means I look after our small and medium sized business customers.

Can you tell us about your company?

Starling is a fully digital bank founded in 2014 by Anne Boden, who felt that traditional banking was broken and there had to be a fairer, easier, and more human way to help people and businesses manage their money. We launched personal current accounts in May 2017 and business current accounts in March 2018. We now have over 2 million accounts, including over 370,000 business accounts.

Can you tell us about the offering for franchise business?

Our business accounts are free, we have an easy digital application within the app and we offer 24/7 UK-based customer service. We have paid-for subscriptions for our Euro and USD business accounts which makes it easier to pay inventory and franchise fees overseas and our Business Toolkit which automates your bookkeeping and invoicing.

Our Marketplace makes it easy to integrate in real-time with accounting providers such as Xero and Quickbooks, point of sale systems like SumUp and Zettle, and a variety of other useful applications to help you save time while running your business.

What are your targets for franchise sector growth over the next 3 years?

Franchising is an important part of the UK small business landscape – it allows people to become entrepreneurs for the first time and to scale their businesses with support. We are aiming to grow our small business market share to 18% from 6% over the next five years, and we see franchised businesses as being a key element of meeting those growth targets.

Learn more about the services Starling Bank can provide

This article features in Franchise Entrepreneur, magazine of the Quality Franchise Association. You can read the full magazine here.