Neobank, Black Banx released its semi-annual report on July 7. With customer numbers and revenue greater than ever, the fintech service continues to be a success.
Toronto-headquartered Black Banx was founded by German billionaire Michael Gastauer in 2014, and subsequently launched in 2015. Since then, according to their latest report, the Group has amassed over 28 million customers and is close to generating $1bn in revenue within the first six months of the year. Its borderless banking system provides customers with features ranging from a global debit card to services within the crypto trading exchange.
Key report findings:
Its number of SME clients increased by 16%, with a notable increase of 28% in the Middle East and Africa region. Black Banx being available in 180 countries and its focus on being a global, rather than Western force, provides a unique perspective for fintech. The group’s latest growth report noting an increase in small-medium enterprises within the MEA region lets us delve back into the beginning of the year when Gastauer took more of a focus in Africa’s growth.
Regional Chief Executive Officer MEA Jabari Walker said in regards to the bank taking on expansion in new territories, “Especially with the recent launch of our West African branch in Liberia, we are seeing increased business growth in that region.” Its West African focus comes from its growing economy and internet penetration to 42% of the population. Fuelled by its younger inhabitants compared to neighbouring regions, West Africa is an ideal area for Black Banx to take off in.
Black Banx has been focused on the continent’s growth since opening up an office in Cape Town, South Africa in 2016. As the population of Africa exceeds 1.2bn, 45% do not have access to financial services – Black Banx has a solution that works for anyone with access to the internet. However, in 2021, it was estimated that around 27 million people were clients with 21 digital banks across the region. One notable reason for this is the majority of people still lack verifiable identity documents and the World Bank suggests Sub-Saharan Africa to account for over half of the 1bn “global unregistered people without ID”.
It’s all about growth, and with Black Banx’s aim to provide for the unbanked and underbanked, it’s no surprise they’re seeing an increase in customers in the region. But the neobank is able to target the region’s growth too. Instant account opening via a smartphone app, interest bearing savings accounts, cross-border payments and a range of services targeted towards business customers, are to underline economic growth and development in the region.
In the latest edition of African Digital Banking Transformation Report, the document stated that banking access increased last year, “with 48% of the population having access to banking services, compared to 45% in 2017.” Growth was attributed to the rise in mobile money and digital banking, with Black Banx making ground as key play in the region.
As younger populations worldwide shun away from cash and visit traditional banking branches, the want and need of digital banking systems in Africa is likely to grow. Black Banx’s smartphone app is successful in targeting the region as mobile phones account for 75% of all online traffic. Being able to pay from a handheld device is gaining traction, especially due to Africa’s limited card payment infrastructure.
What can Black Banx offer?
The Gastauer-led company can offer those in the region easy sign up and almost instant access to their accounts. Customers have the option of creating either an individual or business account, providing customers with cross-border payments and account openings in 28 currencies and two cryptocurrencies. Card limits can be configured and business customers have the option to assign multiple users to an account, a sign Black Banx is focused on ease of access no matter the client.
Black Banx isn’t Gastauer’s first venture. The German native had created his first company by the age of 24, and the company acquired over $1bn assets under management in less than three years. After being sold to a Swiss investment firm, Gastauer went onto his second successful business venture. As one of the first in Europe, he implemented an online payment system for the eCommerce industry that offered global card acceptance and payment processing solutions. His business expertise and financial background has ensured Black Banx to change the way we all look at banking.