THE digital bank Starling now has 12 per cent of its tech staff at its Southampton office and “would love it to grow”.

The company, which aims to overtake Barclays as a bank for business, has more than 320 employees attached to its offices at Town Quay – a net increase of 100 in a year.

It says technical staff based in the city have delivered some of its key products, including, its Kite debit card for children and its Connected card, which account holders can give to trusted people to use on their behalf.

Becci Freeman, senior people partner with the bank’s technology division, told the Daily Echo that all these demonstrated the talent available at the Southampton site.

“We'd love it to grow. Any of our roles that we’re advertising in technology can be done from Southampton. They can be done from any site. We’re now hybrid across all offices,” she said.

She said this meant Southampton employees could get involved in projects going on anywhere I the country.

“We did have the teams more assigned to a location, whereas now with us working in a distributed way the opportunity for people in Southampton to get involved in a London team or a remote working team is there.

“So just because you’re in Southampton doesn’t mean you can only work on the teams that are there. Every single engineering opportunity across Starling is available to any engineer here.”

Starling’s founder and chief executive, Anne Boden, said late last year that there was a “very realistic” opportunity for the bank to overtake the “big five” player Barclays in business banking and more than double its five per cent share of the small business market.

Its chief people officer, Susanna Yallop, told the Echo: “We’ve been very fortunate, working through this pandemic as an organisation, that we’ve continued to grow and that’s been a very positive environment for people to work in.

“Working for a very fast-moving, growing business is a very attractive place to be, because it’s a positive environment and from a development perspective as individuals you don’t get to experience that kind of pace of change and be involved in that kind of thing very often.”

Becci Freeman has been with the business since its earlier days. “I think Starling has stayed true to the culture that was at Starling six years ago and that’s why people have stayed,” she said.

“One thing about Starling is that we’re constantly scaling and our culture is able to scale with it. We empower people to do their jobs and we do that from day one. When you join Starling, we know that you can do the job so we get you involved in everything straight away.

“As an engineer, you’ll be putting something live into production in your first week, which is incredibly unusual and we encourage you to bring yourself to work.

“We want people to add value, to follow our values of owning it and doing the right thing and people really feel that.”