Meet The Female Leaders Of Finance With Tyler Gallagher: “I believe that there are macro trends towards embracing diversity” with Luvleen Sidhu and Tyler Gallagher
Tyler GallagherAug 12 · 11 min read
believe that there is a macro trend towards embracing diversity. I also
think the #MeToo movement is bringing awareness to issues faced by
women; however, much more attention needs to be brought to the topics of
women’s equality and women’s rights. Overall, we are becoming more
cognizant and sensitive. There has been progress, but it is far from a
reasonable or fair outcome. A large gender income gap still exists. A
lot of women are also missing on board seats.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Luvleen Sidhu, founder of BankMobile.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Banking/Finance field?
How I came to found BankMobile is a unique story, where every major step I took during and after college led me to its launch.
was actually a pre-med student at Harvard and on the path to become a
doctor. However, I was always intrigued to explore finance, having grown
up in a finance and banking family. During my sophomore year, I
convinced my parents to let me try a finance internship. I joined the
sophomore rotational program at Lehman Brothers and interned with the
firm during my sophomore and junior years of college. After graduating, I
joined Lehman fulltime. My first full day on the job was the day of the
Lehman bankruptcy, which came after six weeks of training. This
experience has significantly impacted my career trajectory because it
made me more aware of the fragility in the financial system and the
importance of helping Americans create a strong financial foundation in
Lehman, I joined Customers Bank for a short period in a business
development role where I was exploring digital banking models. It was at
this time that I learned about Bank Simple, which was one of the first
movers to explore the new digital model. I was intrigued by what they
were doing and knew they were on to something. After my brief stint with
Customers Bank, I enrolled at Wharton for business school and here is
where I caught the entrepreneurial bug.
the way, my interest in banking continued. I remember opening my first
bank account and having to wait 15–20 minutes in line and feeling that
the whole experience was very uninspiring and long. I did not feel I had
a trusted advisor or partner as I started my first financial
relationship. With banking in my genes, I started to look for other pain
points and ways to improve the experience. After Wharton, I worked at
Booz and Company and helped a large financial institution launch a
experiences across all these organizations culminated in me pitching
the idea to Customers Bank on how we can leverage technology to build a
better bank. In 2015, we officially launched BankMobile.
Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far?
think the most interesting story in my career is the above-mentioned
Lehman Brothers narrative, my first day on the job, September 15, 2008.
After the six-week training period, I was gearing up to start fulltime
when the firm filed for bankruptcy. I called HR and asked if I should be
going in and remember the words told to me, “Business as usual.” It
sounded so ironic and it was definitely a unique way to start my career.
I was walking in on my first day as, sadly, people were walking out
with boxes. That moment in time helped me realize I wanted to help
others, and also impacted me enough to create a more affordable banking
solution with the launch of BankMobile.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
are very excited about the T-Mobile MONEY checking account. T-Mobile
took the broken industry of telecom and helped to improve it
dramatically. Similarly, we felt that banking was broken and wanted to
improve the experience for consumers. We came together with T-Mobile to
solve another consumer pain point and our collaboration is something
that we are really thrilled about this year. T-Mobile MONEY is helping
everyday Americans have a seamless user experience with a no-fee,
interest-earning, mobile-first checking account.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
think one of the things that makes us stand out is our
“customer-obsessed” approach to banking. We truly want to make a
positive impact on our customers’ lives and are always on a mission to
financially empower them. One of programs I am most proud of is the Passport
Student Success Sweepstakes, which is the BankMobile Vibe Checking
Account recognition program for smart money management, academic
achievement and good financial behavior. In February 2019, we awarded
$10,000 to a University of North Texas graduate to help pay off his
student loans. We are making real changes in the lives of our customers.
Street and Finance used to be an “all white boys club”. This has
changed a lot recently. In your opinion, what caused this change?
I believe that there are macro trend towards embracing diversity.
also think the #MeToo movement is bringing awareness to issues faced by
women; however, much more attention needs to be brought to the topics
of women’s equality and women’s rights. Overall, we are becoming more
cognizant and sensitive. There has been progress, but it is far from a
reasonable or fair outcome. A large gender income gap still exists. A
lot of women are also missing on board seats. Only 24 of the Fortune 500
companies had female CEOs in 2018 and this number represents a decline
of 25% from 2017 [Fortune]. Additionally, as of June 2019, a mere 5.2% of S&P 500 companies have female CEOs [Catalyst, Pyramid: Women in S&P 500 Companies (June 11, 2019)]. Female-led companies received only 2.2% of the venture capital money invested in firms in 2018 [Fortune].
We are becoming more sensitive and women have fought for their rights, but we still have a long way to go.
Of course, despite the progress, we still have a lot more work to do to achieve parity. According to this report in
CNBC, less than 17 percent of senior positions in investment banks are
held by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done
by a)individuals b)companies and /or c) society to support this movement
think companies need to promote women and give them fair opportunities,
in order for them to get the mentorship and career trajectory that they
deserve. There needs to be pay parity, and leadership needs to make
this one of their key areas of focus. Senior management across the board
at corporations needs to give light to this. Also, I think the women
that reach leadership positions can be a force for accelerating this
movement, help others move up and be advocates for equal pay. Companies
can also invest in creating programs to specifically help women, such as
Goldman Sach’s Launch With GS, which is the firm’s “commitment to invest $500 million in women-led companies and investment managers.”
an individual level, I want to make sure that there is a strong female
representation on the BankMobile advisory board and that we are
promoting women from within. For example, we recently promoted Regine
Fiddler, who served as our Vice President, Marketing and Product
Management, to our Chief Marketing Officer position. She has earned this
role and now has a seat at the table and is helping others pave the
are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about 5
non intuitive things one should do to become more financially literate,
what would you say? Can you please give a story or example for each.
1) Talk about money with your friends.
While you do not need to get into specifics, tapping into your close
network can be a beneficial way to learn what tips or tricks they may be
using to manage their money. Oftentimes, even though your friend group
might come from different socioeconomic backgrounds and have diversity
in terms of jobs, etc., you can learn what does and what might not work
for one another, and apply it to your own life. Maybe they are going
through, or have gone through experiences that you are questioning when
it comes to your own financial situation, and insights from someone you
trust can provide the perspective you need. On the other hand, you can
also learn from their situations if they have made some not-so-savvy
decisions, and learn from their past mistakes.
2) Watch documentaries.
If you browse through Netflix or Hulu, there are countless options
available that show the life story of notable people who once struggled
with money. While sometimes these films can be dramatized, the premise
of seeing someone’s path and their financial journey can be inspiring. A
great example of this is Magic Beyond Words: The JK Rowling Story.
Knowing that the author of the Harry Potter franchise once struggled
financially and had to live on welfare to survive and now has a net
worth of over $1 billion is a testament of how believe in your dreams
can help you overcome any financial hardship.
3) Follow popular trends.
Keep note of what is trending in the marketplace, and pay attention to
the stock prices of the companies or entities involved with the trend.
This can help you learn how different events influence stock prices,
while familiarizing yourself with the process. An example of this is
when Disney released Black Panther, which broke box office records by
grossing over $1 billion, which caused Disney’s stock value to rise [MarketWatch].
4) Attend investment seminars.
At these types of events, you are given the opportunity to network and
connect with like-minded people who are interested in building their
wealth. Investment seminars are filled with people who invested their
money (and their time!) to attend, which indicates that they are serious
about building their wealth, and looking towards those who can help
them get there.
5) Find a mentor.
Look for someone who can guide you on the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ within
your particular field or industry, but can also guide you financially.
Finding a mentor does not necessarily mean someone who is much older or
far more advanced in their career, it could be a colleague who is at a
similar level with skills or accomplishments you admire. Tapping into
someone that you can relate to on this level, who can provide you with
insights outside of your normal realm of thinking, can add value to your
career, but also save you both time and money in the long run.
of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is
there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get
you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
father, Jay Sidhu, Chairman and CEO of Customers Bank and BankMobile,
has been a great role model for me throughout my whole life and
continues to be someone I look up to. He is a visionary and always
thinks outside of the box, a quality that I have always admired and
tried to follow. Jay focuses on how to deliver value and have a strong
work ethic, and build a business that does well by doing ‘good.’
2014, we combined forces. He is a traditional leading banker and I am a
millennial who loves innovative ideas. My insights around
customer-centricity and technology coupled with his industry expertise,
learnings and drive helped us launch BankMobile and create our
Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Tough times don’t last but tough people do”
founded BankMobile with a lot of skepticism in the industry and had to
be extremely diligent throughout the launch process, making sure we were
compliant and also resilient. Early on, our original B2C platform was
not growing at the exponential rate that we needed to and we faced
challenges. Instead of giving in, we re-strategized and were able to use
that challenging time to pivot our strategy to a B2B2C platform, which
we now call our Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform. I always remind
myself that when things are difficult, I have the opportunity to learn
from them. I think this is important in life and also as an
entrepreneur. It is not an easy road, but one that can be very rewarding
if challenges are seen as opportunities to grow and if you remain
passionate about your venture.
are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that
would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people,
what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
the business that I am in, there are over 65 million unbanked and
underbanked in the U.S. These individuals are not part of the
traditional banking system. They do not trust banks and are skeptical
and also, because of the monthly fee requirements, often locked out of
the system. Due to these circumstances, they often opt to work with
payday lenders and alternative banking solutions where 10% of their
income goes towards the exorbitant fees of these providers.
hope to inspire the movement of providing banking services that are
affordable without outrageous fees, to have financial education, to not
be in the business of making money by having our customers mismanage
their money. I hope that a movement starts that will help people manage
and grow their money, and achieve dreams that they can set for
themselves, to be a banking partner that wants to help. That is the
movement we are trying to create.
Thank you for all of these great insights!
About The Author:
Tyler Gallagher is the CEO and Founder of Regal Assets, a “Bitcoin IRA”
company. Regal Assets is an international alternative assets firm with
offices in the United States, Canada, London and Dubai focused on
helping private and institutional wealth procure alternative assets for
their investment portfolios. Regal Assets is an Inc. 500 company and has
been featured in many publications such as Forbes, Bloomberg, Market
Watch and Reuters. With offices in multiple countries, Regal Assets is
uniquely positioned as an international leader in the alternative assets
industry and was awarded the first ever crypto-commodities license by
the DMCC in late 2017. Regal Assets is currently the only firm in the
world that holds a license to legally buy and sell cryptos within the
Middle East and works closely with the DMCC to help evolve and grow the
understanding and application of blockchain technology. In addition to
his role with Regal Assets, Tyler is a regular contributor to Forbes,
Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global and Authority Magazine. Tyler has
also been featured in many news publications and has been a guest expert
on “The News with Ed Shultz”. Tyler is a proud member of the Forbes
Finance Council a private invite only-group of hand-selected industry