2023 can arguably be considered as the year the United States lost faith in its traditional banks. The spring of this year alone saw the collapse of multiple high-profile regional banks, namely Silicon Valley Bank (the 16th largest U.S. bank by asset value before its collapse), Signature Bank (29th largest), and First Republic Bank (44th largest).
Unfortunately, such collapses are part of the natural course of business, and are often an annual occurrence. Understandably, the number of bank failures (as well as the size of the institutions that were affected) in 2023 has been alarming, and can be attributed to varying factors.
The collapse of the previously mentioned banks were reportedly the result of deficiencies in risk management and a lack of proactive supervision; far different from the well documented bad loan practices of the mortgage crisis of 2008. Either way, even the biggest among traditional banks took a tumble, leading to uncertainty among investors, consumers, and the economy in general.
Not surprisingly, like it has since being conceptualized, financial technology has been at the ready to provide private and business customers an alternative way to transact and manage their finances amidst traditional banking’s limits or, in this case, trip ups.
One fintech at the ready to address the US financial markets evolving needs? Toronto-based global digital banking company, Black Banx.
While the shuttering of a number of major banks will seemingly be what defines 2023 for the US financial market, the opposite can be said of Black Banx.
In just the first three quarters of the year, the group has surpassed prior years’ milestones. Most notably, Black Banx has garnered over 11 million customers throughout January to September, bringing its total of people it serves to over 33 million. This is a far cry from the 200,000 customers it onboarded in its first year of being in the market in 2015. At present, the company is onboarding more than 1.8 million new users per month.
Black Banx also delivered year-on-year revenue growth of 72% in the third quarter and 47% in the first half of 2023, substantially outperforming its original target of 55% in compound annual growth from 2022.
Black Banx’s financial performance in the first nine months is well in line with the Group’s ambitious growth plans for 2023. For the first three quarters, profit before tax was US$158 million, the highest nine months figure since 2015, despite absorbing non-operating costs of USD 14 million. Excluding these non-operating costs, profit before tax would have been US$172 million in the first three quarters of 2023, up from US$89 million in the prior year period.
According to Black Banx CEO Michael Gastauer, “In the first nine months of 2023 we have demonstrated good growth momentum across a diversified business portfolio, underlying earnings power and balance sheet resilience. This puts us on a good track towards our 2023 financial targets. We are determined to continue on this path while accelerating the execution of our global customer acquisition strategy.”
Now, as Black Banx ups its target to 38 million customers by the end of the year, the group will proceed with further expansion into the US market through competition analysis and the development of strategic objectives.
Following the analysis, Black Banx plans to establish its operations in the US by buying a federal bank in California.
Black Banx’s will emphasize digital banking in its US market strategy as, given the rapid growth of mobile banking, the company wants to attract consumers in the US by offering a seamless digital experience.
Additionally, another facet of financial services in the US that Black Banx hopes to also significantly enhance is the facilitation of international money transfers. Traditional banks, up until now, simply cannot accomplish this in real-time with minimal fees like Black Banx can. At present, the company offers private and business accounts in 28 FIAT and two cryptocurrencies, which can be accessed and used to transact in as many as 180 countries.
Exhibiting its diversified customer focus, Black Banx also exhibits a unique perspective on cryptocurrencies. The US government’s surge of legal actions against crypto companies is starting to reshape the domestic market. Black Banx, which has been accepting cryptocurrency deposits since 2016, is not avoiding these challenges by offering crypto trading USDT, BTC (Bitcoin), and ETH (Ethereum) like it does everywhere else.
It is evident that finance in the US is at the turning point, and the continued expansion of the likes of Black Banx into the market only ensures that finance will never be the same in the country.