Why we are building a full-stack bank

18th October 2016
by:

Full-stack Banking empowers us to be the answer to our customers’ needs

We’re a bank with no IT department, but we make no bones about our approach to full-stack banking, building from the ground up. By building our app from scratch, we avoid spending time fixing inherited problems. This allows us to focus on creating new, bespoke software that meets our customers’ needs.

Many IT departments take the less risky route of building on other people’s platforms – and what’s worse, it’s crippling their ability to innovate.

Traditional banks face a difficult challenge – they must keep pace with digital developments whilst minimising costs of updating old IT systems – so it is no wonder that they have little appetite for engineering.

Mobile product - Starling blog

Starling Bank App preview

“No fear” development

We hire great engineers and trust them to create software that’s resilient, fast and secure. Whether it’s in the mobile apps, payments or cards processing or the ledger – we don’t leave difficult things or important things to others.

Truly agile

We need to respond to feedback quickly so we can create the best possible customer experience. This requires a high degree of control over everything we deliver. We don’t want our own release rhythm disrupted by third party release and test cycles.

All about the customer

By building our bank ourselves, we can ruthlessly pare down our scope and focus on what our customers need. By contrast, off-the-shelf packages are often a poor match for what our customers need and customisation is a well-known road into dead ends for upgrades.

No projects

As engineers, we embrace the “you build it, you run it” philosophy. We build products, not projects. We recognise that everything we build is our responsibility until it is retired or replaced. So we prefer to back the skills that we have – software development – rather than spending our time acquiring vendor-specific operations knowledge.

So is there room for third party software at all? Yes. Our bank is built on open source tools and libraries; we cannot and should not rewrite these. And we use services for commodity functionality like address lookups and charging cards – though like most cloud-native tech companies, when it comes to these vendors, we value the flexibility of cloud services with web APIs rather than installing package solutions in our bank.

But our starting point for delivering a great bank for our customers is to build not buy.

If you want to sign-up to our waitlist to be the first to have an account, you can do so here.

Next

Debit cards & our first purchase – it’s in the bag