We met with Luvleen Sidhu, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at BankMobile, a digital bank that is making customer onboarding simpler than ever.
Tell us a bit about what you do at BankMobile.
Sure, so BankMobile launched in January 2015. We're a completely digital, mobile-first bank, with a mission to make banking affordable, effortless, and financially empowering to Americans across the country.
Great. So what has changed in the past 10 years that has allowed BankMobile to exist?
If you look at what kind of innovation was being developed in the banking industry, you see banking products being developed and bank branches being developed to be the delivery channel for those products. And now we're seeing branches on the most expensive street corners with big glass windows and video screens and smart bankers. That has been innovative, but it is by no means disruptive.
I think we have a once in a 100 year opportunity because of what customer needs are and, most importantly, because of the technology shift that has taken place and the technology that we have at our fingertips to really be disruptive going forward. So if you look at the stats, people are actually visiting bank branches once a year and interacting with their bank on their mobile devices 20 to 30 times a month. So finally with technology such as a mobile device, we can reach customers much more quickly and be able to acquire customers at a much quicker pace and in a much more convenient fashion than we have ever before.
What obstacles are getting in the way of making sure that happens?
For a lot of the incumbents it's a little bit difficult because they're so engrossed in their brand strategy. They wonder what they do with all their branches. So their focus is on digitizing the banking space and digitizing mobile and online channels.
The criteria that you really have to look for is how can you attract customers. Right now bank branches are only attracting one new checking account per week, so that's a really inconvenient customer acquisition model. They really need to think about how they can transform the digital experience to get exponential customer acquisition growth rather than what's happening in branches today.
What do you think about fintech and banking? Sometimes its said that fintech is the enemy and sometimes its said that we're partners. What do you think?
I think we're partners. The huge advantage of fintech companies is that they have awesome technology. But what banks have that fintechs don't have is a customer acquisition strategy, customer stickiness, and liquidity.
Being we need to combine both. You know, banks that want to be tech players but have a charter can become fintech players with bank charters if they partner with fintechs. And fintechs can really benefit from a customer acquisition strategy and a broader product set to create customer stickiness and get funding as well.
How does you see yourself navigating this space over the next five years?
For us, our moon shoot is that we want to acquire 10 times more customers a day than a traditional bank, and so we need to work on customer acquisition strategies and partnerships that can really help us do that. For us it's about creating the right partnerships, really creating a financial ecosystem — even a lifestyle ecosystem to create memorable experiences for our customers. We attract them, and they keeping coming back, and stay with us for life.