The Current Wave: Faster growth, money and bank charters

profile Erin Bruehl  |  October 20, 2020

It’s been a blistering amount of growth this fall at Current and we’re proud to say we’ve also been recognized with more awards in our industry. We also have no plans to pursue our own bank charter and we’ll explain the reasons why.

Growing, growing, growing…

It’s been a year of exponential member growth at Current with the COVID-19 pandemic serving as an accelerant to digital banking and we are now over 1.6 million members at Current, as we’ve continued to add over 100,000 new members each month since April.

We’re a fintech, not a bank

Fintechs obtaining their own banking licenses has been a hot industry topic as of late. What about us? Here’s why pursuing a bank charter doesn’t make sense for us right now:

  • Change in our core business KPIs: Our current business model is based on spend and is not dependent on deposits, unlike traditional banks. This allows us to focus on our core demographic, which is the over 130 million people in the U.S. who live paycheck to paycheck. Pursuing our own bank charter would make us no longer deposit agnostic.
  • Target demo: A focus on deposits then would only make sense if we began targeting a more affluent customer, which would be a shift completely away from our mission. We build all of our products right now for our core demographic specifically to address their needs and improve their financial outcomes.
  • Costs: Servicing a bank charter would require a significant amount of capital reserves. The amount of money, time and resources we would need to spend to acquire our own bank charter would mean money, time and resources NOT spent on enhancing our technology and building products to help our members and serve our mission.
  • Unit economics: As a fintech, we have partnerships with issuing banks. This allows us to each focus on our specialties (for us it is innovation and technology) to create mutually beneficial business relationships. The costs of partnering with an issuing bank are also dramatically less than servicing our own bank charter.
  • We’re solving real problems no one else is: If we pursue a bank charter, we would then be in direct competition with large traditional incumbent banks that service more affluent customers. Instead, we’re focused on solving problems that exist for a third of the people in this country, who primarily need access to liquidity.

Long story short, we’re continuing on our mission to improve financial outcomes and our product roadmap is still about building products to get more money back in the pockets of our members as quickly as possible to help improve their financial outcomes.

We’re Tearsheet’s Consumer Challenger Bank of the Year

We are honored to be named Tearsheet’s Consumer Challenger Bank of the Year, which was announced during the Challengers’ Conference in September. Current CEO and Founder Stuart Sopp spoke at the conference with Zack Miller in a session all about banking Americans who have been overlooked by traditional banks. You can watch the full conversation here.

You can catch more Current coming up!

Stuart will be speaking at the Rise Summit on Wednesday, October 21 from 10-11am ET in a session titled Changing the Financial Landscape - Gen Z and Millennial banking, payment and spending trends with Juile VerHage, Co-Founder and COO of FinTech Today moderating and fellow panelists Adrienne Yih, Managing Director, Consumer Discretionary Analyst at Barclays, Neel Ganu, Founder at Finch and David Fisayo, Co-Founder at Wealth8, Director at Foundervine.

You can sign up here to attend. If you can’t make this one, you’ll be able to catch Stuart at both FinovateWest and the Citi FinTech conference next month.

We have plenty more to share so stay tuned for the next edition of the Current Wave to find out!

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