Fintech unicorn Monzo to appoint former Northern Rock boss to banking board

Emily Nicolle
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Hoffman is currently the chairman of Hastings
Hoffman is currently the chairman of Hastings (Source: Monzo)

Digital bank Monzo has appointed the former head of failed bank Northern Rock to its board, as the startup aims for growth in 2019.

The fintech firm is to announce Gary Hoffman as its non-executive chairman tomorrow, as first reported by Sky News, replacing Baroness Kingsmill who has chaired Monzo since 2015.

Hoffman will bring with him years of experience in traditional banking, having also previously served as the chair and chief executive of Barclaycard and as vice-chairman of Barclays.

He was appointed as chief executive of Northern Rock in 2008, helping to bring stability to the bank as the financial crash took its toll.

Once the UK's fifth-biggest provider of home loans, Northern Rock was the first British bank in more than a century to fail due to a run on its coffers. It was nationalised by the government in February that year, having already turned to the Bank of England for emergency funding.

Hoffman left Northern Rock in 2010 to lead investment firm NBNK, which hoped to build a new UK bank by buying retail banking assets from others which had yet to be bailed out. By 2015, he had moved on to become chief executive of insurance business Hastings, and is now its chairman.

The news comes after Monzo raised £105m in a fundraising round last year, taking the digital bank's valuation above £1bn and landing it with so-called unicorn status.

With more than 1m monthly active users, Monzo chief executive Tom Blomfield has said he hopes to reach 3m active customer accounts by the end of this year.

Monzo declined to comment on the report.