TEL AVIV — BankMobile wants 1 billion users. Yes, that’s “billion” with a B.
This bold pronouncement was made at Bank Innovation Israel here yesterday. Reaching the user goal would mean BankMobile expanding outside the U.S. to Latin America, India, China — well, to everywhere.
BankMobile launched last January.
The ambitions of the father-daughter team behind BankMobile — Jay Sidhu, former CEO of Sovereign Bank, and his daughter Luvleen Sidhu — are anything but modest. To be clear, the bank does not expect 1 billion BankMobile “customers,” but it expects to scale to such a point that its services “touch” 1 billion users across the globe.
BankMobile is the consumer arm of business-banking specialist Customers Bank, based in the Philadelphia suburb of Phoenixville, Pa. Guided by Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Luvleen Sidhu, BankMobile began trying out a dizzying array of initiatives to win over millennials — social media contests, referral marketing, on-campus ambassadors at universities, street teams in major U.S. cities, and more.
To achieve its lofty goal, BankMobile will need to sign up more than just millennials. The Sidhus are prepared.
“We have publicly announced that we will have 25,000 users in our first year,” Jay Sidhu said at Bank Innovation Israel. “Today, I can say that we will exceed that. We have announced 250,000 users in five years. We will exceed that, too.”
Customer acquisition has bedeviled mobile-first bank accounts from the very beginning. Not long after BBVA bought Simple in early 2014, it was revealed the account, famous for its waiting list, had just 34,000 users. Jay Sidhu noted that BankMobile would probably exceed this figure by the end of its first year, in January.
Partnership will play an important role in the 2.0 generation of BankMobile, which the bank is currently working on, Jay Sidhu said. Customers Bank recently inked a deal with Biz2Credit, a marketplace lender for small businesses. Luvleen said that it has inked a partnership with Robinhood, for investing, as well as other firms, to advance BankMobile’s service offerings without significantly expanding its such as Robinhood for investing would be a good fit for the bank.
The Sidhus also discussed future versions of the BankMobile platform, and noted that BankMobile 2.0 would make greater use of data to ramp up personalized offers, as well auto finance initiatives. It appears as though BankMobile 2.0 will be released next spring. Luvleen Sidhu said one of the goals in launching BankMobile was to show banking can be fun, and compared it to brands such as mattress company Casper, Warby Parker, which sells eyeglasses online, and Oscar, a next-generation health insurance company — all favorites of millennials.