Customarily, the banking and financial industry has designed its businesses to suit a broad client base. However, they have consistently failed to recognize the opportunities for expansion into this underbanked minority, overlooking the disenfranchised and marginalized. FinTech and Neobank’s have realized this oversight by implementing specific policies and practices that address this indifference.
This blog identifies four Newbanks’ who have realized the marketplace opportunity that traditional banks have overlooked.
For the African Americans.
Historically, the black community has been redlined because of ethnicity, geography, and race. The redlining practice has made it extremely difficult for them to bank, obtain loans and mortgages, or obtain immediate access to other financial services. However, First Boulevard has taken a personalized approach to this situation. They are a fully inclusive financial services company that believes that banking should be inclusive. First Boulevard has plans that assist Black Americans to build generational wealth with controlled spending, with better-individualized services.
In 2021, CEO Donald Hawkins commented that First Boulevard “looks like the market we serve and as a result … have an unfair advantage when it comes to building products that Black America needs. [Our] diversity is our intellectual property, and our members are the driving force behind what we do.” Hawkins adds that the “need for [our] Black focused solution in the financial industry is long overdue.”
For the Asian Americans
Cheese is a misnomer for the Asian community. Cheese as a “thing” is not readily associated with being “Asian” per se. However, phonetically, Cheese is Chinese slang for money. It is a clever double entendre that attracts the Asian-American’s intended clientele. Cheese has been created as being a centric Asian American banking platform. It implements the usage of WeChat, a multi-purpose, instant messaging, social media, and mobile payment application that has over a billion monthly Asian [American] users. Current customer support is in English and Chinese, intending to expand to use other, Asiatic languages.
Furthermore, Cheese’s specific point-of-difference is that it accepts alternative forms of identification. Currently, the ubiquitous Social Security number is just one of the few accepted identifications within the banking ecosystem. Cheese’s option allows [recent] immigrants to bank while simultaneously assimilating into a new country and culture.
For the Disabled.
Neobank Purple addresses money management issues faced by those with disabilities due to discriminatory and debilitating banking policies. However, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (2014) allows them to save for their disability-related expenses tax-free, preserving their independence through supplemental Social Security income and other financial programs.
Purple works with ABLE to improve their lives, particularly with education and housing, encouraging their financial accountability and responsibility without risking the loss of their government benefits.
For the LGBTQI+ Community.
It is estimated that 5.6% of the population identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Barriers still exist, especially for the transgender and those who are gender-non-conforming. Daylight is an emerging Challenger Bank that aims to serve the LGBTQI+ community, with its main point of difference being its focus on identity.
One priority is to call people by their chosen name, even if it differs from their IDs. This protects [mainly] transgender people from their dead name, their birth name. This is because this name no longer reflects their gendered identity. This focus ensures that their clients are specifically gendered correctly in any communication.
Daylight continues to intimately work within the Rainbow community to identify other LGBTQIA+ issues that they can address more effectively than their contemporary counterparts. This dedication to specifics is a major point-of-difference for Daylight moving forward.
These four examples exemplify the engineered platforms that [these] Neobanks are creating for specific marketplaces. Their implementation of digitization has created competition featuring robust benefits that traditional banks cannot offer. Their ideas can successfully work for these financial institutions whose existence is not reliant on values-based niche banking. These examples provide products and services that focus on getting unbanked to a bank. The subtle point-of-difference(s) that each of these examples has in the developing, fluid environment of digitization and personalization is unbanked to banked.
The premise of this blog was inspired by reading these articles:
https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/banking/neobanks-with-community-focus. Further research retrieved data from the following public websites:
https://www.withpurple.com/ as well as https://rac.org/press-room/house-passes-able-act-key-step-toward-economic-security-people-disabilities
and https://www.wired.co.uk/article/daylight-fintech-lgbtq as well as https://www.mortgagebusiness.com.au/breaking-news/11685-bank-highlights-lgbtqi-financial-discrimination