Anglo-Turkish fintech Colendi is launching Turkey’s first digital deposit bank after gaining an approval from the country’s Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BRSA), Fintech Finance News reported on August 21.
“We are thrilled to obtain authorisation for the establishment of a digital deposit bank, ushering in a new era of accessible banking for our platforms and users,” Bulent Tekmen, co-founder and CEO of Colendi, was quoted as saying, adding: “Colendi’s business model is to work with first class organisations and enable them to reach their retail and SME customers to offer financial products within a regulated environment.”
Colendi said its banking licence would enable it to receive deposits and lend from its own balance sheet in a secure regulatory environment.
The firm bills itself as Turkey’s leading fintech, with 18mn customers. It has partnerships with Migros, the largest multi-format grocery retailer in Turkey, and Turkcell, the country of 86mn’s largest telecom operator.
Colendi has acquired e-money, asset management, capital market and insurance brokerage licences over the past 24 months.
Since launching in 2021, Colendi’s payment business has grown more than 40x, according to the firm, with the credit business expanding more than 10x, processing more than $300m in financial transactions with more than 1.5m credit users.
Colendi also claims recognition as the first brokerage firm to offer trading of international stocks in Turkish lira, while the group launched Turkey’s first embedded insurtech products into retail channels.
Using proprietary technology, including AI-driven tech, digital bank ColendiBank will target growing its platform to reach 50mn customers regionally.
Tekmen has noted that Colendi’s acquisition of London-based SETL, the main technology partner for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s digital dollar initiative, would be a driving force behind the new ColendiBank.
SETL serves institutions including the central banks of England, France and Singapore, as well as Swift and the Bank of New York. With SETL, a regulated liability network (RLN) framework is facilitated, with the aim of optimising efficiency through a shared ledger (accounting and reconciliation system).
SETL recently launched Ledger Swarm, providing RLN for real-time settlement.
In 2021, Colendi raised $30mn in a Series A investment round. In an ongoing Series B round, Colendi’s valuation has expanded from $120mn to $750mn.