Monzonaut AMA - Theo - Borrowing Data Scientist

The long awaited return of the Monzonaut AMAs! :tada:

We’re back with our good friend @TheoGibson who is a Data Scientist within our Borrowing team :man_scientist: :bar_chart:

I asked Theo for a little bio and this is what he’s given us:

I’m currently a data scientist at Monzo, working in London. I work in borrowing which involves; developing our decisioning strategies (deciding who we lend to vs don’t lend to), understanding how customers are interacting with our existing overdraft and loan products and how customers are using those products once they take them out.

The is going to be answering questions this Friday, so feel free to get those questions in as soon as you can :pray:


When do Credit Pots launch?


You mentioned loan extensions were on the roadmap. How long until there’s a release for this?


Is there any internal discussion at all around reworking the interaction of overall account + pot balances and overdraft fees? I.e. not being charged overdraft fees if you are not in fact borrowing any money from Monzo.

Anecdotally, doesn’t seem to be a popular or understandable (I know the reasons put forward, but it simply doesn’t make things simpler imo and feels deeply ‘unfair’) decision whenever it comes up on the forum.


Do you mean things like being able to pay them from a bills pot, or not getting charged overdraft fees if you have money in a pot?

Or both :laughing:


I meant this! Will edit to be clearer :persevere:


Hello @TheoGibson :wave:

Can I borrow some money to start the Bank of Ordog please? I’ll just pay you back when it’s a success so no monthly repayment agreement is necessary :wink:


Can I have a bigger overdraft and a smaller APR please?

More seriously, do you automatically review these and offer bigger amounts / better terms, or does the customer need to make a request?


When you’re asked for a reason for your loan there aren’t many options. I’d therefore expect the ‘other’ field to allow you to type in what it is for but it doesn’t.

Is this kind of data not really relevant in your decision making? Or if I select ‘other’ does it go for manual review because you can’t really account for everything people would type in.

Either way, I’d imagine it will help you understand why people are wanting to borrow and if you can lend to them?

1 Like

I endorse this!

Hypothetically, if Monzo were to have pots as mini payments accounts (so, for example, bills pots would pay directly without the withdraw to current account step) how would overdrafts work?


I think just very simply by calculating whether my overall balance is negative or not.

£0 main account + £100 bills pot = £100 overall.

-£50 main account + £100 bills pot = £50 overall.

(obviously scale to however many pots you want)

Until I start borrowing from Monzo, I don’t see any legitimate reason to charge me overdraft fees.

And the additional negative is that the current practice of course acts as a direct disincentive to properly organise money in pots as I’m sometimes forced to choose between keeping the money for XYZ helpfully ringfenced, or taking it out just to avoid overdraft fees for a few days (before ideally putting it back after pay day).


That’s the reason I ask the question, really. The current set up - like it or loathe it - makes logical sense. But as soon as you have multiple payment accounts/pots it breaks. So a new setup/approach is needed!

1 Like

Hi @TheoGibson!

  • What would you say the coolest part of your job is?
  • How have you found working from home?
  • What do you think Monzo will look like in 5 years’ time?

Thanks :blush:


Oh, and what @davidwalton said :laughing:


Conspiracy theory: credit pots will be launched before this AMA so Theo will be able to talk about the detail.

(Note: this probably won’t happen)

Here’s another one for Theo: now you have/haven’t launched a new credit product, could you tell us the likelihood of a Monzo credit card in the future?


This might be a stupid question but how do people interact with their loans and overdrafts?

Do they not just pay when due or make an overpayment (if a loan). What more interactions can one have?


Hi Theo! Should be an interesting one!

My questions few:

  • Whats your favourite thing to with Credit Pots?
  • ok real question - what do you think the future of Lending will look like? Products like Tymit, Starling + their combined loan/overdraft, Klarna + PayPal pay later type things - all ‘shaking things up’ - what do you think the Landscape will be in another 5 years time for lending?
  • Where do you best envision the use of Data taking Monzo, and what does Data generally mean for features like Trends?
  • Lastly, how did you get into Data Science?

Thanks :slight_smile:


Another random question…

I assume you have to present lots or data in nice ways as well as give people the ability to produce their own reports. What libraries do you use to achieve this? And how do you decide what you need to track and report on?

1 Like

Would you rather have fingers for toes or toes for fingers?


How often do you listen to can i borrow a feeling by kurt van houten?

What has been the biggest time save that the borrowing team has automated?

1 Like