Robinhood Markets Inc. has more than 4 million U.S. consumers using its free stock-trading platform. Now, it’s in talks to offer them other banking services like savings accounts, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Menlo Park, California-based firm is not allowed under current rules to operate like a bank, but it’s in early discussions with regulators to begin offering banking-like products through different licenses or partnerships, these people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are confidential. One of the people said the company is having constructive conversations with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which charters and regulates all national banks and federal savings associations. However, the talks are not finalized and could still fall apart.
If Robinhood were to start performing more traditional banking services, it would fit into a larger trend among financial technology startups. Firms like Social Finance Inc. and Stash Financial Inc. have debuted similar products in recent months. The strategy is increasingly thought of as a way for young digital companies to deepen relationships with consumers, and to woo people away from larger banks by offering a smoother user experience, high interest rates, and the ability to access several features in one place.
Jack Randall, a spokesman for Robinhood, declined to comment.