To top
Title Image

Author: @luvleensidhu

15 Mar

#Finovate Interview | March 2021

Luvleen Sidhu, CEO of BM Technologies (formerly known as BankMobile), is now one of the youngest female founders and CEOs of a public company.

Since she co-founded BM Technologies in 2014, the company has made major news headlines. We recently spoke with Sidhu to get the background behind some of those decisions and to get her opinion on what it takes to compete in the fintech world as an ethnic minority and a woman.

First off, give us some background on BM Technologies (BMTX) and how it differentiates itself from other challenger digital banking platforms.
Luvleen Sidhu: BM Technologies, Inc. (NYSE American: BMTX, BMTX.W) is among the first neobanking fintechs to go public and is one of the largest digital banking platforms in the U.S. (with over 2 million accountholders), providing access to checking and savings accounts, personal loans and credit cards. We are on a mission to utilize technology to provide millions of Americans with a better banking experience, especially around affordability, transparency and more consumer-friendly products. We are proud to share that we were named the “Most Innovative Bank” by LendIt Fintech in 2019 and we continue to stay true to our mission of being a customer-centric focused company committed to innovation, and financially empowering millions of Americans.

We are a profitable and high-growth company and have been able to build this strong foundation through our Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) strategy, which enables the acquisition of customers at higher volumes and substantially lower expense than traditional banks. This allows us to provide low-cost banking services to low/middle-income Americans. Today, the BankMobile BaaS platform is provided to colleges and universities through BankMobile Disbursements and serves over two million account-holders, providing disbursement services at 722 campuses, covering one out of every three students in the U.S.

Additionally, BM Technologies executed an agreement with Google to introduce digital bank accounts, which will be available to its customers. We also expanded our white label strategy with T-Mobile for the launch of T-Mobile MONEY.

Tell us about why you chose to offer not only B2C banking products and services, but also banking-as-service tools?
Sidhu: When we launched our company over six years ago, we actually only had a B2C banking product. However, fairly early on, we realized we were not growing at the exponential rate that we had anticipated and our customer acquisition cost was high. This caused us to pause and reevaluate our strategy. We recognized that there was an opportunity to pivot our strategy to a B2B2C model where we could lower our customer acquisition cost to less than $10 and in return still deliver a tech-enabled banking experience to millions of Americans through our distribution partners. This has been critical in our growth and our success as a company.

BM Technologies has its roots in the traditional banking world, having been developed internally by Customers Bancorp. How did that relationship shape BM Technologies?
Sidhu: Customers Bancorp gave us an extremely solid foundation as a company. Even when we launched in 2015, Customers Bank had $6.5 billion in assets. My father, Jay Sidhu was then the CEO of Customers Bank and cofounded BankMobile with me. Richard Ehst, then President of Customers Bank, also helped guide me, along with other members of the company’s leadership team. Having the chance to work with banking veterans provided us with immense knowledge of the industry, which helped us be successful.

BM Technologies is one of the 11 financial institutions collaborating with Google to pilot its Plex bank accounts. What benefits does this partnership offer BM Technologies? Are there any challenges with the new partnership?
Sidhu: This collaboration is mutually beneficial and is differentiated from the others because of our unique college student acquisition funnel. This means we are bringing to Google Plex potentially millions of student customers.

For us, the collaboration offers additional brand equity since Google is one of the leading technology companies in the world and has chosen BM Technologies to work with.

Why did BM Technologies choose to go the SPAC route to become a public company? What opportunities will this offer?
Sidhu: We decided to go the SPAC route because it was a more efficient way for us to take the company public. Our ultimate goal is to add a new white-label partner and gain at least a million new bank customers each year and most importantly provide them with the most financially empowering banking experience. We also plan to use our new funds to continue to focus on innovations and expand our product offerings.

As not only an ethnic minority but also a woman, what have you learned about what it takes to compete in the fintech world?
Sidhu: It takes a lot of determination, flexibility and a “can-do” attitude. I have been raised by two parents who have always supported and encouraged me and given me the tools and resources to succeed. This has helped me throughout childhood and adulthood and has given me a strong foundation to launch my own company. “Never give up” is a motto that my father said to me since I was a young child and one that I truly believe in. There have been obstacles along the way, but by continuing on despite them and overcoming them, I feel I have been able to be competitive.

In general, what developments can we expect in the challenger banking space in 2021?
Sidhu: I think that challenger banks will continue to grow their customer base, becoming increasingly popular with consumers across the country. More and more people are turning to digital banking, and the pandemic accelerated this trend. Challenger banks are nimble and consistently creating new services, which are attractive to Americans. I also believe that more challenger banks will go public this year.

Original Interview:

2 Feb

Seeking Alpha

Arming The Titans: Why BM Technologies’ BaaS B2B2C Strategy Will Revolutionize Banking

• With a low 1.8x multiple on revenue and a 9x multiple on EBITDA, I expect the stock could easily double in 2021, reaching the FinTech sector norms.
• Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) cooperative strategies work: Through their successful collaborative efforts with T-Mobile and BenefitHUB, BM Technologies has entered a joint effort with Google to expand its financial offerings.
• BM Technologies has a rock-bottom average customer acquisition cost of $9.63. Industry norms range from $100 to $1,500.
• With dominance in the higher education market, many students’ first banking experience will be with BM Technologies, offering long-term growth and brand awareness.
• Aggressive R&D and sharing technology position BM Technologies to rapidly expand its customer and partner base.

*Original and entire article can be found at:

9 Oct

Grazia India Feature

Meet The Millennial Empowering Women Through Her Success In Finance

When it comes to financial matters, there’s a lot that millennials aren’t aware of – including the best investment schemes, stock trading, banking and more. Millennials, especially women, are striving hard to gain financial independence and what better time than now to really get the ball rolling, right? If you’re among those looking to use this time to learn everything you can about finance, look no further. Let Luvleen Sidhu, CEO of BankMobile, show you how to make the most of your money.

In 2014, Sidhu started her own company and turned it into one of the fastest-growing digital-first banks serving millennials. While climbing the ladder to success, she has remained focused on elevating others by launching a number of diversity and inclusion initiatives, while serving as a mentor to other women. Read on to find out more about her journey toward female empowerment and entrepreneurship.

GRAZIA: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

LUVLEEN SIDHU: I’m the Co-Founder and CEO of BankMobile, one of America’s largest mobile-first banks. I launched the company at the age of 28 and in under six years, we have acquired over 2 million customers. During this time, we have also developed our multi-partner distribution model called Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS). This model allows us to help non-banks offer banking services to better attract, engage and retain customers. For example in 2019, we partnered with T-Mobile and launched T-Mobile MONEY and in August 2020, we announced the execution of an agreement with Google to introduce digital bank accounts, which will be available to customers in 2021.

I’m also a member of the BankMobile Board of Directors and Director and Founder of the BankMobile Foundation, where I help to identify and fund budding entrepreneurs and organizations that promote financial literacy. Outside of my professional life, I am a health and wellness coach and avid traveler.

G: What urged you to start BankMobile?

LS: I consider my dad to be my personal role model and mentor, and growing up, I had the privilege of gaining first-hand insight into the banking industry by observing his career as a successful banker. After graduating from Harvard in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis, I joined Lehman Brothers, and on my first day, the company filed for bankruptcy. This greatly impacted me as I saw how millions of Americans lost everything in a blink of an eye and had to build themselves back up from scratch. Experiencing this was one of the reasons I eventually founded BankMobile, as we have a mission to help Americans build a strong financial foundation through the products and services we offer. After Lehman, I worked at Neuberger Berman and then Customers Bank, where I researched digital banking models before earning my MBA from The Wharton School. As a summer associate at Booz & Company, I helped develop a strategy for a financial services firm to launch a digital bank.

My early career had been focused on investing and business development and I identified a weakness in traditional banking. Realizing that branch-based customer acquisition is both inefficient and costly, I had the vision to use technology to break away from this model, while solving consumers’ pain points around banking and managing their finances. In January 2015, I co-founded BankMobile using a disruptive approach focused on technology and innovation to give customers a financially-empowering, seamless banking experience.

G: Tell us more about the services that you offer.

LS: BankMobile offers checking and savings accounts, personal loans, student refinance and credit cards. The company is focused on technology, innovation, easy-to-use products and education with the mission of being ‘customer-obsessed’ and creating ‘customers for life.’ BankMobile employs a multi-partner distribution model, known as ‘Banking-as-a-Service’ (BaaS), that enables the company to acquire customers at higher volumes and a substantially lower expense than traditional banks by partnering with distribution partners like higher education campuses and brands like T-Mobile.

There are currently over 65 million unbanked and underbanked individuals in the U.S. who are not part of the traditional banking system. They do not trust banks, are skeptical and because of the monthly fee requirements, are often locked out of the system. Due to these circumstances, they often opt to work with payday lenders and alternative banking solutions where 10 percent of their income goes towards the exorbitant fees of these providers. At BankMobile, we strive to offer affordable banking solutions to anyone who needs our services, often including millennials and low-income and middle-income Americans. As we expand our company by advancing our technologies and collaborating with companies like Google, we are also expanding our ability to better service people across the country.

With our model, we are able to provide a superior customer experience based on transparency, innovative technology and excellent customer service.

G: What are some of the challenges you faced in your journey?

LS: When we first launched BankMobile, we were a new company with a new type of business model that was yet to be proven. By clearly communicating our passion, vision and strategy, we were able to secure some high-profile partnerships early on that elevated our brand and helped us achieve success. Most recently at the start of the pandemic, we were faced with the need to transition to a remote work environment in order to protect our employees while continuing to provide banking as an essential service. Our decisions were driven by our dedication to employee safety and customer service, and we were able to create new ways to earn revenue, while simultaneously cutting costs throughout the pandemic.

G: How do you aim to empower women through your success story?

LS: Actively focusing on promoting women in leadership roles, creating mentorship opportunities, providing equal pay and ensuring female voices are represented on our leadership team and Board are just a few critical steps that I’m taking to propel women in finance.

I strive to create a positive work culture for all my employees. In my spare time, I work as a health and wellness coach, and have recently used those skills to promote employee mental health and a strong work-life balance.

Additionally, in response to the recent social justice issues, I’ve expanded our Diversity and Inclusion Council, which recently hosted an all team member family meeting to discuss the Black Lives Matter movement and the need for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. My goal is to ensure all our employees feel safe, heard, celebrated and cherished. We also released a public statement echoing what has long been our internal practice.

23 Mar

Crains 40 Under 40

Luvleen Sidhu, 34

Co-founder and CEO, BankMobile

In the crowded field of financial startups, Luvleen Sidhu has stood out far from the pack since she launched BankMobile, a financial institution used by 1.1 million college students in the U.S.

Last year her five-year-old startup become the backbone for T-Mobile’s banking app. BankMobile generated $85 million in revenue in 2019 and became profitable in the second half of the year. It holds $540 million in deposits.

Few Silicon Valley–backed banking startups have broken through like this. 

Sidhu doesn’t come from Silicon Valley, but from Reading, Pa. That’s where her father ran the local bank and, eventually, many others. Her parents wanted her to become a doctor; they were disappointed when she chose finance. 

Lehman Brothers went bankrupt the first day she worked there, a sign mighty institutions perhaps weren’t as solid as they seemed. After cutting her teeth in investment management, she urged her father to back her idea to start a bank that wins over customers at a young age and grows up with them. 

BankMobile has succeeded in part because its fees are often much lower than those of most established banks. Sidhu promotes her brand on digital channels such as Instagram and at Ted-like talks, media approaches that tend to mystify the banking world. 

Maybe one day her digital-native bank will be bought by a larger financial institution, as is the customary order of things.

But it feels more likely that one day she’ll be the one buying out her rivals. — Aaron Elstein

See full article here