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BankMobile, aiming to make banking affordable: Interview (Includes interview and first-hand account)

BankMobile is a division of Customers Bank and it is the largest mobile-first bank in the U.S. The new approach to banking has a mission to make banking affordable, effortless and financially empowering. BankMobile was launched in January 2015 with the aim of offering a banking experience all through, including those excluded from traditional financial services, a smartphone or tablet device

To discover more about BankMobile’s services, Digital Journal spoke with Luvleen Sidhu, Co-Founder, President and Chief Strategy of BankMobile.

Luvleen Sidhu - Co-Founder  President & Chief Strategy Officer at BankMobile.

Luvleen Sidhu – Co-Founder, President & Chief Strategy Officer at BankMobile.
Luvleen Sidhu

Digital Journal: Thanks for the interview Luvleen. What are the main changes happening with banking?

Luvleen Sidhu: We see many changes in technology that will enhance the customer experience. This technology will also enhance internal as well as external efficiencies within the banking industry from artificial intelligence and chat boxes that will give clients faster access to information they need to better manage their money to using the same technologies to help banks function better operationally. Eventually this will help cut costs allowing us to save customers time and money.

DJ: How fair are banking charges? Are consumers being penalized?

Sidhu: It’s hard to put the word fair and banking charges in the same sentence when customers are being charged in many cases for accessing and moving their own money. Customers are practically subsidizing the cost of bank branches with Americans being charged $33 billion a year in just overdraft fees. In today’s environment banking fees should be low or nonexistent.

DJ: How are startups disrupting traditional banking models?

Sidhu: Firstly, startups have access to cutting edge technology relative to the antiquated systems of traditional banks that create a superior customer experience. Secondly, startups are not bogged down by old processes that they are afraid to change. They are starting from scratch so the only thing that they are concerned with is delivering superior service and user experience that will help customers live better financial lives. This type of mindset will force traditional banks to change or chance being phased out.

DJ: To what extent is the banking sector undergoing digital transformation?

Sidhu: This is the major focus of most banks. They are focused on the future and the future is digital. From the large, well-known banks to the smaller regional banks to the neobanks everyone is trying to figure out how to run more effectively by incorporating innovative technology. The question they are asking is “how can this technology be used both to better the customer experience and build a high growth, profitable bank?”

DJ: What are the objectives of BankMobile for consumers?

Sidhu: We want to save them time, save them money, and provide them the necessary tools needed to live their best financial life. We place a strong emphasis on financial education through our online courses, videos, articles so our customers understand the basics of money management such as budgeting and building credit.

DJ: How is BankMobile accessed?

Sidhu: BankMobile is a digital, mobile-first bank that customers can access through an app, online portal, and through chat, email, and a customer service line.

DJ: How did you develop the product?

Sidhu: When building BankMobile, we assembled a team of world-class developers and designers that had their pulse on what our customer base needed. We also made sure that we didn’t build our company in a silo but employed the opinion of the people who are actually going to use our service. In turn this allowed us to create something that we knew the marketplace wanted and needed.

DJ: How have you addressed security issues?

Sidhu: Security is something that we take very very seriously, so our approach is to not only rely on cutting edge technology but we also have a team of experts that are diligent about monitoring customers’ accounts to make sure they are safe and secure.

DJ: What other types of technology interest you?

Sidhu: We are currently exploring how blockchain technology can add to our internal and external efficiencies. We all know that this technology will revolutionize the world and so we are constantly learning and staying on the forefront of how we can capitalize on this unique technology. We are also bullish on AI and how we can use this technology to provide more proactive advice to our customers so they can make better financial decisions on a daily basis.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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