BankMobile Reaches 100K Customers, Expects 2M by Mid-2016

  • Philip Ryan
  • December 16, 2015
  • 1

Copyright Canstockphotos/pitrsBankMobile has exceeded its Year One user goal by 4x.

The company announced today it had reached 100,000 users in its first year, far more than its previously stated goal of 25,000. CEO Jay Sidhu told the audience this smaller number at Bank Innovation Israel last month, but he noted that the bank would exceed that goal. The mobile-only arm of Phoenixville, Pa.-based Customers Bank launched in January.

Reaching 25,000 users in a year is ambitious for a mobile-only bank. Simple only reached 33,000 or so in its first two years, according to a report from Quartz, though Simple disputes this and claims it had 100,000 when it was bought by BBVA.

BankMobile’s five-year goal was 250,000 — and the bank will exceed that too, Sidhu said in November. Yesterday, the bank announced it expects to have two million accounts by mid-2016.

This may sound overly ambitious, but there is a reasonable explanation: Customers Bank is buying former partner Higher One, a provider of student bank accounts. The deal is expected to close in the first half of next year, and this will net the bank some 1.2 million accounts. BankMobile plans to add another 500,000 customers organically.

Students have always been a target market for the bank. Since getting customers to switch is so difficult, younger customers beginning their first banking relationship are particularly prized. But BankMobile has taken a more proactive approach to this than most, launching initiatives such as campus brand ambassadors, and the Higher One partnership. Previously, as students graduated out of Higher One accounts, they would be offered Bank Mobile accounts. Now, it appears existing Higher One account holders will simply become BankMobile customers — part of the two million.

Sidhu, who manages the bank along with his daughter, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer Luvleen Sidhu, has extravagant ambitions for the bank. He said in November he wanted to touch a billion customers with the bank’s services.

This is because BankMobile is delivered on mobile devices, what Benedict Evans of Andreessen Horowitz calls the world’s first universal piece of technology. “We sold mainframes to large corporations, we sold PCs to middle-class families, and we sold technology in one form or another to a segment or a portion or a subset of the population,” Evans said in 2014. “But mobile is a product that gets sold to pretty much everybody on Earth.”

Sidhu hopes a large portion of them touch his mobile-first bank.

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Philip Ryan is Senior Editor of Bank Innovation and Senior Director of INV Fintech. He began covering financial services in 2012 and has more than 15 years' experience in online journalism, which makes him quite old. He can be reached at pryan@royalmedia.com.

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