BankMobile Takes Aim at Investing with Robinhood Deal

  • Philip Ryan
  • December 2, 2015
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© Can Stock Photo Inc. / NickRBankMobile is aiming to help its millennial customers start investing via an upcoming partnership with free stock-trading service Robinhood.

The mobile-first arm of Phoenixville, Pa.-based Customers Bank, BankMobile is just under a year old but has already made its name a byword for innovation and experimentation. The company does a great deal of software development on its own but is also embracing the mantra that banks need to partner to succeed.

Led by the father/daughter team of Jay Sidhu (CEO) and Luvleen Sidhu (chief marketing and strategy officer), BankMobile is trying everything to get millennials to open accounts. It has brand ambassadors on college campuses, street campaigns in the big cities, and offers a full-featured mobile app that includes, perhaps uniquely for mobile-only banks, a credit component.

In August, the bank also launched its own technology company, BankMobile Technologies, in a move reminiscent of CBW Bank and Yantra Financial Technologies.

But another major arrow in the bank’s quiver is partnerships. Customers Bank, BankMobile’s parent, inked a deal with business loan marketplace Biz2Credit for small business loans in October. Last month in Tel Aviv at Bank Innovation Israel, Luvleen Sidhu revealed BankMobile had its own partnership in mind: free stock-trading app Robinhood.

Jay Sidhu praised Robinhood this summer as a company that had “cracked the code” of attracting millennials, which is the trick BankMobile itself hopes to achieve. Robinhood grew rapidly and won the affection of millennials with its commission-free stock trades. Its waiting list grew to 500,000 just a few months after launch.

What partnerships are next for the bank? Luvleen Sidhu has also praised the health insurance service Oscar, and mentioned student loans as a major problem for millennials. Paging Earnest

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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. He can be reached at pryan@royalmedia.com.

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