10 Years Later, Simple CEO Josh Reich Steps Down

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Josh Reich, CEO of the digital bank Simple, announced yesterday that he was stepping down from his role after 10 years. Simple was started (as BankSimple) one year into the credit crisis as an alternative to the big banks. It was was acquired by Madrid-based BBVA for $117 million in 2014 as the megabank sought to expand its fintech offerings.

Simple earned a reputation for superlative customer service and for being the original mobile-first bank. But as the years went on Simple moved away from its roots.

“Our most recent problem to solve was becoming a product-driven company again,” said Reich in a blog post announcing his decision. “From 2014 through 2017, we were primarily focused on infrastructure projects. Important projects that we had to do as a business but did little to directly help our customers.”

As of last year, Reich sought to change this. In August 2017 Simple laid off 33 people or 10% of its staff, including five executive board members, as part of a shake up to update its technology and no doubt refocus on its mission.

Reich made mention of this mission in yesterday’s announcement.

“We’ll never profit from customer confusion, we’ll design for how people think rather than how banks work, we’ll compete via customer experience rather than fees or rates, and that all that we do is in support of our mission to help people feel confident with money,” said Reich.

Simple board member Dickson Chu will become Simple’s executive chairman and interim CEO.

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Monica Melton is an Associate Editor at Bank Innovation. She has worked as a Staff Writer at eMarketer and written for Time Out New York, The Real Deal, and POLITICO among others. Monica obtained her M.A. in international journalism from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and her B.A. in Communications from the University of Washington, Tacoma. She loves to cook vegan treats and dabbles in photography.