12 Coolest Brands in Banking 2016

  • JJ Hornblass
  • February 23, 2016
  • 11

Copyright constockphots and damedeesoWhen we think of cool, James Dean doesn’t immediately come to mind. The app Songsterr does.

We are proud fintech nerds, and for five years we have marked the Coolest Brands in Banking on Bank Innovation based not on the type of sunglasses worn by a CEO, but on the “wow, that’s awesome” factor of the financial services venture. Subjective? You bet. Intriguing? We certainly hope so.

What is interesting about the Coolest Brands in Banking is that it forces a different perspective on fintech. This is not about the “biggest” or the “most significant” or the “most popular.” Rather, these are the financial services ventures capturing the imagination — both today’s and tomorrow’s — of fintech. If you think it’s an easy mark to hit, note that we kicked Apple off the list this year after four consecutive years at No. 1. (Apple Pay just isn’t as cool anymore.)

We expect you will nod in agreement with some of our 12 choices, and nay audibly at others. But, if you will forgive the reference, that’s what makes this cool. Irreverence is in the mix. And maybe a wildcard or two.

And if your choice is not on our list, check out our honorable mentions at the end of the selections. No doubt at least some of next year’s coolest brands will be found there. No sunglasses needed.

Here, in our fifth annual installment, are a dozen of the coolest brands in banking in 2016.

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JJ started the first iteration of Bank Innovation back in 2007, and has been working on it ever since. He also serves as President & Chief Executive Officer of Royal Media, Bank Innovation’s parent. He founded Royal in 1995 and oversees all aspects of the New York-based diversified media company. Prior to forming Royal, JJ was on the editorial staff of American Banker, the daily newspaper, and worked as an editor of a business magazine in Hong Kong. As a reporter and editor, he has won journalism awards from the National Press Foundation, Newsletter & Electronic Publishers Foundation, and the Reader’s Digest Foundation. He has a BS in Economics from Yeshiva University and a Master’s from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was also a Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School of Banking. He lives in New York City with his wife, two daughters, and son. He counts among his accomplishments one New York City Marathon, two New York City Triathlons and the 2010 Father’s Day 5K, the first race he ever ran with his daughters. He can be reached at hornblass@gmail.com or 212-564-8972.

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