Coolest Brands 2016: BankMobile

There’s an Emoji for That

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / KrisdogThe other day, BankMobile posted a video of people-on-the-streets-of-New-York getting interviewed about bank fees.

“If bank fees were an emoji, what emoji would they be?” the interviewer asks.

“The sh** emoji,” one person responds.

BankMobile is cool because it is specifically looking to avoid the sh** emoji. The brainchild of Jay Sidhu, the former CEO of Sovereign Bank, and his daughter, Luvleen Sidhu, BankMobile’s chief strategy and marketing officer, the banking startup is looking to do everything differently, from avoiding branches, to guerilla-ing its marketing, to avoiding the crack cocaine of bank fee revenue.

And it seems to be working. Last December, BankMobile said it exceeded its Year One goal from a factor of four, signing up 100,000 users. By the middle of this year, BankMobile wants to be at 2 million accounts — a reasonable goal considering that its parent, Customers Bank, recently announced that it was acquiring Higher One, a student lender that has 1.2 million accounts.

From there, BankMobile is aiming for 1 billion users. No one ever accused the Sidhus of settling for modest goals. But, in truth, that’s what we admire most about BankMobile: that is aiming not just high, but with great altruism. There’s got to be an excellent emoji for that.

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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

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There’s an Emoji for That

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