C-Suite Advisory

Lessons From Launching The Fastest-Growing Mobile-First Bank

We live in a world of industry disruption: from Amazon forcing brick-and-mortar stores to close their doors, to the likes of Netflix and Hulu disrupting traditional television distribution, to ride-hailing apps grabbing 75% of the ground transportation market share, to digital media platforms rendering newspapers extinct. Granted, there are companies struggling in the face of such transformation but more importantly, these disruptions are addressing and providing solutions to changing consumer behavior and needs.

The banking industry is antiquated, and has been long overdue for disruption. On average, customers visit bank branches 1-2 times per year; comparatively, they interact with their bank on their mobile device 20-to-30 times a month. However, banks have been slow to adapt. In addition to not addressing changing customer preferences, the banking industry often neglects the American population that is struggling financially – even with 48% of customers switching banks because of fees.

Taking matters into our own hands, we launched BankMobile in January 2015 to disrupt the traditional banking industry and provide Americans with an affordable banking alternative. After a couple years we had become the fastest growing mobile-first bank in the country. With 1.8 million account holders, we are now also the largest mobile-first bank in the U.S., and are proud to have saved college and university students more than $100 million in banking fees since July 2016.

From my experience launching BankMobile – America’s largest and fastest-growing mobile-first bank – I have learned the following key strategies for creating disruptive businesses.

Compelling Vision and Purpose:

Having a massively transformative vision is an absolute must. If you have a bold, compelling vision, set a clear path to see it through. Moreover, clarify your purpose – clearly articulate why and what your business does. Your purpose must be clear to yourself, before it can be clear to anyone else.

Mindset Matters:

First and foremost, your mind has to be set. Success is achieved through a plan that is 80% psychological and 20% strategic. See things better than they are and then make things the way you want to see it.  If you show your belief in your vision, your plan is contagious!

Moonshot Thinking:

Leave 10% thinking for large corporations, seeking innovation at incremental levels in response to industry disruption. Rather, strive for moonshot thinking and 10x improvement. Moonshot thinkers are game changers. They don’t adapt for the future, they design the future – addressing a massive problem by proposing a radical solution with innovative thinking and technology. Identify an area of your business where you should shoot for 10x growth, and see your vision through. Shooting for 10x improvement, versus 10% improvement, is 100x more worth it, but is never 100 times harder.

Customers Come First:

We seek to disrupt industries in order to better serve customers’ needs. Thus, you should always focus obsessively on the customer experience. Ask yourself, “Why would a customer be attracted to your business and why would they stay with you?” and, “What is one area of your business where you can improve the customer experience?”

Adapt, Adapt, Adapt:

Adaptability skills are crucial to creating disruptive businesses. Technology is creating the biggest opportunities to disrupt seen in over a century. There are numerous untapped exponential technologies at our fingertips. Be an early adopter and take advantage of ready to be used technological advancements including: internet of everything, artificial intelligence, machine learning, personal devices, blockchain, data analytics, robotics and biometrics.

Launching the fastest-growing mobile-first bank was definitely not an easy feat. At first, we faced a lot of skepticism and challenges. However, through perseverance and a complete dedication to our mission of creating a financially-empowering, simple, customer-obsessed bank, we have been able to be immensely successful. I hope the insights I gleaned can help others as they look to innovate disrupt various industries across the country.


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Luvleen Sidhu
Luvleen Sidhu, Co-Founder, President and Chief Strategy Officer, BankMobile. Originally from Pennsylvania, Luvleen received a B.A. in Government from Harvard University and MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.