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Xinja’s Australian neobank dream comes to an end

Xinja wanted to be different, but Covid hit at the worst possible time – after it had launched a high-interest deposit business, but before it had offset that with lending.

Chris Wright on Asia 1920px.jpg

Xinja, the neobank launched amid an Australia banking crisis and with a vision to be different, has announced it will quit banking just a year after being licenced to start.

“Please note that Xinja has decided to exit banking business and return its ADI (authorised deposit-taking institution) licence,” said a note on the bank’s home page on the morning of Wednesday December 16, under its usual headline ‘How money should be’.

Two products, the Xinja Bank Account and Xinja Stash Account, will be discontinued on December 23, the bank said.

That is a shame.

I first interviewed founder Eric Wilson in 2017, as Commonwealth Bank of Australia was reeling from scandals in its life insurance and financial planning arms, and momentum towards a reputation-shredding royal commission gathered pace.

Wilson himself had come through the ranks at National Australia Bank, running one of its subsidiaries, National Australia Trustees.

A combination of that role and the stories his father-in-law told him about being a bank manager in small bush towns for the Bank of New South Wales 40 years earlier had ingrained in him a sense that banks ought to be doing better with people’s trust.

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