Digital challenger bank Alex has received its full banking license from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).
The approval of the authorized deposit institution (ADI) comes 18 months after the fintech, founded in 2018 by CEO Simon Beitz, a former Suncorp exec, and Chief Financial Officer Craig Fenwick, Restricted ADI license in a torrid time for the neo-banking industry.
Alex has been operating as a fast personal lender, processing tens of thousands of loan applications over the past two years. It targets about 3% of the main fast credit consumer loan market before scaling up to offer a wider range of banking services.
The bank offers personal loans of up to $50,000 through brokers and white-label digital channels, with a 3-minute request and a 60-second response.
The lender is eager to tackle the small business market, which has been fertile ground for fellow neobank Judo, and plans to launch new products including digital overdrafts and term deposits
It currently offers an invitation-only savings account with a% interest.
Beitz, Alex’s CEO, said the ADI license was a proud moment for the team.
“It represents the culmination of years of hard work and enables Alex Bank to accept deposits and scale our business by leveraging our investment in next-generation technology that enables fast and efficient straight-through processing,” he said.
“We are excited to expand our suite of products, including term deposits, to complement our award-winning personal loan and savings account.”
Beitz said the bank has focused heavily on developing its brokerage partnerships in 2022 and now has access to most brokers in the market.
The bank has offices in Brisbane and Sydney and over 2500 customer accounts.
“This is just the beginning for Alex Bank. Over the past three financial years, we have grown our revenue at a compound annual growth rate of 717% and are grateful to have been recognized as one of Australia’s fastest growing companies,” said Beitz.
Last September, Alex raised $20 million in a Series C that valued the neobank at more than $120 million. That raise came from existing shareholders and new investors, including Washington H. Soul Pattinson, Regal Funds Management, Wunala Capital and SG Hiscock & Company, adding to the $34 million already raised.
But amid Alex’s continued success, the neo-banking sector has proved an insurmountable challenge for some over the past two years
In December 2020, neobank Xinja closed its doors and in June this year Volt closed its doors after failing to raise fresh capital. Fellow digital bank 86 400 announced the sale to NAB in January 2021.