Preparations at the UK’s top three digital banks for an eventual shutdown due to the spread of coronavirus are well underway, as most staff work from home and remote rehearsals take place.
Most staff at both Monzo and Revolut’s offices around the world are now working from home, while at Starling Bank it is an approximate 50 per cent split. Monzo has around 1,500 employees, while Revolut has more than 2,000 and Starling has 800 staff.
Monzo chief Tom Blomfield told City A.M. the bank ran a full-scale shutdown rehearsal earlier this year to evaluate if it could continue to run smoothly in the event of an entire staff quarantine.
Revolut and Starling are currently operating a split system trial, in which half of staff are asked to work from home for between one and two weeks during alternate periods. However City A.M. understands that full-scale rehearsals have not been carried out.
A spokesperson for Revolut said the timings of the split system are being evaluated on a daily basis, while Starling said all of its policies are under daily review due to the outbreak.
At all three banks, staff can still opt to self-isolate outside of those trials. At Revolut’s London office, this has led to approximately 80 per cent of its staff now working from home.
Travel between Starling’s three offices in London, Cardiff and Southampton has been banned, while at Revolut there a ban on all business travel globally. Additionally, any Revolut staff member that goes abroad on holiday must then self-isolate for two weeks once they arrive back on home turf.
A spokesperson for Starling added that it has now made a full transition to ensure all of its key functions are split across its offices, so that if one location were to shut entirely, the others could continue to run the bank’s processes.
All three remain confident that should a full UK lockdown occur, the banks could be run remotely with no compromise to customer service.
“We’re built on technology that allows us to offer a scalable and resilient service that’s not tied to a particular location and that can continue to be available to customers 24/7,” said Starling Bank chief Anne Boden.
“This means we are ideally suited to respond well to the current situation — we have been built for this.”
Blomfield added: “Coronavirus is going to have a very severe impact across the world… These kind of situations are the ones that we as a bank have planned very significantly for.”