The German fintech Solarisbank is booming and growing, or so it seems. However, so do the fintech’s regulatory issues. Therefore, German regulator BaFin is now reviewing whether the institute is allowed to accept certain new customers.
The financial supervisory authority Bafin has tightened its control of Solarisbank. The Berlin-based institution, which is valued at around 1.6 billion euros and offers important digital banking services in the background for fintechs with its banking-as-a-service platform, among other things, will have to have new customers checked by the authority in the future. Designated Solaris CEO Carsten Höltkemeyer said this to the “Handelsblatt.” It was not known how long these checks would be made. Existing customers are not affected.
The supervisory authority has been looking closely at Solaris for some time. In 2020, Bafin identified some serious deficiencies during a special audit. According to financial circles, these included deficiencies in the fight against money laundering and the screening of customers, according to the “Handelsblatt.” Therefore, the new requirement makes it clear that the financial supervisory authority still sees many weak points at Solaris.
Furthermore, the authority significantly increased the capital requirements for the credit institution in the past and also sent a special auditor to the bank in January 2022, but he will now be replaced. “Bafin has informed us that we will have a new special auditor starting this year,” Höltkemeyer told Handelsblatt. Bafin did not want to comment on this issue to the newspaper, just as it did not want to comment on the reservation of permission for new Solaris customers.
In Höltkemeyer‘s view, Solaris has already remedied many deficiencies in the past year. He added that the remaining issues would be worked through. In doing so, Solaris will work closely with the special representative, he said. “The faster we can close this issue, the better it is.” That’s because fixing regulatory deficiencies would also help Solaris attract new major customers and become profitable. The company had set a goal of being profitable monthly by the end of 2022. “We are close to that goal,” Höltkemeyer said.