So I promised some more on the article for those who don’t have access. Again, I’m sorry for not checking that that it was behind a paywall, but as @brandscill points out you can read a few articles a week for a (free) sign-up.
So, here we go.
It’s effectively a biography of Tom, entwined with a brief history of Monzo.
It starts with the author wondering why Monzo is so popular. He frames himself as a bit of an outsider, with Monzo being a more millennial thing (my words, not his). He turns to his daughter to discover Monzo’s popularity.
She tells him that “Monzo tells you exactly where your money goes”. And reveals that it has helped her uncover her disturbing fish purchasing habit.
The rest of the intro almost reads like an advertorial - overseas withdrawals, simple overdrafts, quick and easy sign up etc, followed by a comparison with the big banks:
Small wonder that the conventional banks, beginning with the HSBC beta scheme, are starting to offer a similar product. Too late, maybe?
(I think this might be overstating the HSBC beta app somewhat. Monzo’s a full stack bank, rethought within the limits of regulation. HSBC’s app is, well, an app. It’s a channel rather than a fundamental rethink. But I digress…)
The journalist applies for a Monzo account, makes some amusing asides about the design and heads to Monzo HQ to meet @tom
Apparently Monzo are moving shortly (“but soon he will be moving into fintechville”) - this is news to me. Unless it’s just Tom moving house.
Speaking of Tom, we’re into man crush territory:
He is fair-haired, blue-eyed, small-featured and charming without being in any way smarmy. In fact, the man is like his own app – compact, easy to use and gives you the information you ask for without any fuss. He is a very good communicator. He is almost effortlessly visible.
Later, we’re told (with almost comical understatement) the journo “likes him”.
From thereon in, it’s a bit of a chronology of Tom. Upbringing, schools, family (sad fact that his mum passed away last year), training in law, early career as a management consultant then working at GoCardless and being sacked from Grouper. It touches on his time at Starling:
The terms of Blomfield’s departure mean he can’t talk about any of that, satisfying himself (and frustrating me) with the promise that “there’ll be a fun book in it one day”
I’d buy that book. Actually, I’d love to write that book.
The rest of the article is mostly about Tom’s passion and plans for Monzo. But not before the man crush takes a sinister turn. Talking about Tom still meeting up with Starling’s chief exec:
'it is actually hard to imagine Tom Blomfield falling out with anyone – but then that’s just what baffled relatives always say about serial killers or people who’ve run off to join Islamic State.
Maybe I don’t want to write that book after all. Actually, no, I’d take that risk. As long as I don’t have to go to Iraq.
The last bit is about Tom’s passion for financial inclusion. And diversity and inclusion more generally. But you’ll have to consult the article for that!
The tl;dr: Tom’s a lovely chap who has created something special.