An Open Post to Monzo's Senior Management

My understanding about the transparency has always been that it was “transparency by default” meaning that the question is “why shouldn’t we share this?” instead of "should we share this? ".

My best guess is that as time has passed the list of reasons not to share has been ever increasing and therefore less is being shared. This could (and has) been construed as Monzo no longer being transparent. There’s probably a bit of truth in both evaluations to be honest.

When people mention transparency I think most of the time what they really want is engagement. They want a feedback loop similar to the thread Bruno and team ran on the redesign or a rough view of the direction of travel more regularly than once a year.

Most people can probably understand why the community doesn’t get early sight of products but there has been a marked drop in participation by employees on the forums (with a few exceptions). This is probably due to time and number of employees but as @BritishLibrary says the community was a USP of Monzo and with all the progress/mimicking at high street banks now what differentiates Monzo?


I’d also add here that several of the large legacy banks DID make substantial cuts to their workforce in March/April.

I know of hundreds of contractors working in banks in London that were out of work overnight - some of them from six+ month contracts. I’d imagine this was common across all of the banks and affected thousands of people (I haven’t worked with all of them so can’t be sure).

You don’t hear about these people on the news but some of them had been on the same job for years. It’s a total falsehood to say that the legacy banks haven’t put anybody out of work and naive to believe they’re all so ‘ethical’ and wouldn’t put profits over people’s wages. It’s affected every business.


I’m user number 800 and have also followed Monzo closely. You are being hopelessly naive in your assumptions.

We are facing potentially the greatest economic shock of our generation, all banks are cutting costs. This happens to be a bank with far fewer revenue streams than others. A few recomendations to friends isn’t going to plug that hole, nor is asking your customers for money for nothing.

Let me ask you? How many banks have had their executive and CEO forgo their salary during this crisis, none, exept Monzo. ‘Doing the right thing’ is relative, and I would say they have done that in the given situation.

It is an awful situation, made worse by misinformed decisions such as yours.


Or they have a greater sense of Corporate Social Responsibility and realise that it’s not in their interests or fair to their staff to make redundancies during such unprecedented economic times as it will be harder for them to secure new roles

None of the banks have said, they won’t be making these cuts later, but it’s a question of timing

That’s the risk they take by being self employed and generally earning more when they are working then permanent staff.

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It wouldn’t be relevant to the discussion at hand to go into this too much but I will say that there are many reasons people choose to work this way and it’s simply not true that contractors earn more than permanent staff (in about 70% of cases they don’t). Granted this isn’t accounting for illegal tax dodges but literally anyone can do that if they really want to.

The point is it’s a reasonable estimate to say that the big banks who have made a big song and dance about ‘halting’ their planned redundancies have actually put thousands of people out of work. Wether they were in ‘higher risk’ positions is irrelevant in this context.


Yep, it’s off topic to discuss relative earnings of contractors vs employees, but there’s a big difference between perception and reality.

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Difficult to know if that’s a rhetorical question, or aimed at someone specific. But I’ll jump in if that’s ok?:ok_hand:

There is a desire from the people who love Monzo the most, to defend them from other peoples opinions, and I think it’s really important to stress that, everyone should be entitled to their own (both for, and against).

I also see that the thread has deviated slightly from the main point, to talk of the pausing (or not) of job cuts from High Street banks etc (which really isn’t the main point of this thread).

Every bank wants positive PR - Every bank will try and manipulate the news in their favour.

Monzo have been masters of that from day one. I’ve said previously that they have sometimes felt like a marketing company who does banking.

And that’s fine, but it would be naive to think that the vast majority of Monzo “good news” doesn’t have a marketing angle.

Great for Tom to forego his salary. Did we need to know? Do we know for sure what the others CEO’s or Presidents are doing? Have they done more, but kept it behind closed doors?

Again, it’s not really the point of the thread, but thought I’d offer up a different angle on it.

Even when we remove the COVID-19 situation, my personal feelings don’t really change.

Their focus on the US and disappointing progress in the U.K. seems catered for investors and long term success, but does little to appeal to me, personally.

With the change of leadership, I think it’ll start resembling a bit more of a “normal” bank in time, so I’ll be watching with a keen eye!

Again, not that I should have to say it, as it really should be a given by now… But this is all purely my opinion, and it isn’t designed to convince or persuade others to think the same :smile:


Yeah it’s really not necessary :joy:

The more I think about it, the more I think it applies.

Monzo is now my main bank because of the app and IFTTT. The Lloyds app is very basic but it has had “Save the Change” like the round up pot for years and years. Direct debits from pots means that I can keep all my funds in one place and not get messed up. I had two legacy accounts and had bills from one, spends from the other.

Monzo became my spends. Now it’s all of it. But I’m not quite ready to let go of my legacy bank just yet. When I needed to cash to buy a car I didn’t even consider having that money in Monzo. I had it in my account and I walked into a branch, no issues, no raising limits on support etc. If I need to pay a cheque in, I don’t even consider Monzo. I’ve got a cheque book and write one a year. But not an option with Monzo.

When you look at it like that, Monzo has pluses for sure, but if Lloyds were to catch up app wise, then Monzo would be second best for me.


And even with the gesture, as great as it is for PR… I think from the last Annual Statement, Tom’s salary is about £120k.

According to glassdoor, a typical salary (for COps) is about £28k - so that covers about 4 staff tops. As good as the PR gesture is, it doesn’t really go that far, especially when facing 120 redundancies…


Well said!

lol which four extra would you have chosen to make redundant then ?


I mean that’s clearly not the point I’m making. I’m not saying “don’t bother saving any money and just make more people redundant” - just that the gesture of not paying the CEO is not a ‘crisis ending’ solution.

The point is though, it’s just not a sustainable soltuion, and sure it’s nice as a short term measure and may inject some cash into the business, but in the face of redunancies and the likely recession we’re facing, it’s not going to be enough.

The 120 at risk, if you assume take an ‘average salary’ - that’s about £3.4 million in annual salaries.

Some of the suggestions of “let the user base bail out the bank”, and “just open up plus even if it’s not ready, I’m sure people will pay” or “the senior management should take a pay cut” - all of those things simply won’t do it justice, and again aren’t sustainable approaches.


I agree , the solution is to get back to work, thats the only solution for everybody, to have a functioning economy again, Monzo were doing very well financially before the coronavirus hit , then circumstances beyond their control took over

I have some thoughts on this. But, they aren’t finger-pointing thoughts for the sake of venting, nor my frustrations on things that didn’t pan out even though I had tried to raise them.
Rather, I think I’d like to take a minute to be a little reflective.

I think during our hypergrowth period, we likely failed to imbue the community-first strategy for new staff that the earliest employees, myself included, learned through osmosis. We were lucky in that we had a handful of staff who came via the community, or who had posted here before deciding to join. Kieran, Rika and Hugh are all people who spring to mind and who have historically been super engaged.

Because we hadn’t formalised this, and engagement was often ad-hoc, the value of the community for many people wasn’t internalised for many in the same way that it was for us. And with limited resources, and other responsibilities for everyone that was highly engaged here, it became virtually impossible for that change to happen from those of us who did understand and espouse the value. At one point, we did try to hire a Community Lead, who could have sat very high up and led a strategy from the top down. But it might have been too late by that point, and my understanding of what happened (there may be context I’m not aware of) was simply that none of the applications felt like they were of the standard we’d need for this to happen, and so the role was quietly removed.

So, I don’t necessarily think that level of transparency is unsustainable, I think that we (past tense we) as a company, may not have pushed hard enough to sustain it in a way that could scale. I think and hope that there will be scenarios where that high level of engagement could be seen as necessary again, but with the current situation around redundancies and changes it’s unlikely to happen soon, and if the company moves back towards that in the future it’d be through a different set of people, and hopefully some hires (in the future) in different areas of the business who understand the value of community.

From my perspective there was not a a deliberate shift away from transparency and engagement - although it’s possible that there was, and that information never reached me. More so that the increasing company growth and product complexity made it increasingly difficult for everyone to align on it, and we failed to strategically place a system and set of responsibilities that could scale with it.


Monzo should’ve promoted you to lead the community strategically.

But I remember you wanting to work for a start-up again.

Thanks, Simon, for your past and present engagement.


Thanks, Jamie. That’s very kind :heart:

For what it’s worth, I’m building these same values into the heart of what we’re doing at Sphere. We’ll have a public bug tracker as early as next week, and that’ll lead into a public feature tracker in the next few months after we have aligned on the goals of our next feature sprint. We might even have a forum in the future (haven’t come to a decision on that quite yet!)

I’m excited for you all to meet our CEO, Nick, as well, and we’ll hopefully start holding virtual open office type events in the near future. Even if building group chat that people want to use is a ridiculously hard task (which it is), I believe that operating from true community-first principles will help us build something amazing that people want to use and set us apart :slight_smile:


2 posts were merged into an existing topic: Sphere Chat - Updates and what I’m up to :globe_with_meridians:

Currently Monzo website states 4,296,476 customers.

Forum has had 43,700 people register (all time), and in the last 30 days a grand total of 3,400 used the forum.

We don’t need to be subjective, the stats are available. The number of people active on this website is a very very small portion of Monzo customers (regardless of how you then slice and dice ‘customer’ and ‘active’ the % is still very low).