“The vast majority of people in this industry are men in their early thirties, with beards. People don’t expect a fintech entrepreneur to be me,” said Anne, 59, in an interview with The Times. “I think it’s harder when you stand out, but I’d much rather stand out by being the only woman who’s started a bank in the UK.”
Anne has always stood out. She was one of few women at Swansea University to study Computer Science and Chemistry. When she was offered a place on the graduate scheme at Lloyds, she defied what was expected of her as young woman in 1981. “It was unusual for a girl from south Wales to get that sort of job,” she told The Times. Born near Swansea in 1960, her mother worked in a department store and her father as a steelworker.
At Lloyds, she was told she was “too ambitious”, something that drove her on rather than held her back. At 26, she headed up the engineering team for Standard Chartered’s UK business. She moved on to Price Waterhouse UBS and Aon Corporation before becoming Head of EMEA, Global Transaction Banking across 34 countries for RBS and ABN AMRO. In 2013, she was appointed Chief Operating Officer at Allied Irish Bank.
Over the years, conversations with customers taught her that people were not getting the support they deserved from banks. Anne knew that changing an existing bank would not be enough. She had to start her own. She founded Starling in 2014 and led the team to launch in app stores in May 2017. Today, Starling has 650,000 customers.
This month, Anne’s first book was published. The Money Revolution is a practical and simple guide to taking control of your money. Anne’s goal with The Money Revolution, is to share the best that digital can offer, that can help everything to do with our money be much simpler and much fairer. The book is currently topping the charts in several categories at Amazon.
To read about groundbreaking women in football, have a look at our previous post in this series Smashing the Glass Ceiling. Next time, we’ll be looking at women in technology.