Bank simple, email hard

by. Ron Shevlin

Not that he needs my sympathy, but I kinda feel bad for Simple CEO Josh Reich. He made a simple mistake, and is paying for it for with some unwanted publicity. He mistakenly emailed an internal document to a reporter from some publication called Quartz, who–surprise! surprise!–published the not-so-ready-for-prime-time statistics, and claimed that Simple “seems to be struggling to sign up customers.”

The reporter cites, in his article, an American Banker article published at the time of Simple’s acquisition by BBVA Ventures–not the bank itself, as someone who is smarter (and dresses far better) than me recently pointed out to me–that indicated that Simple has roughly 100k customers, making the acquisition cost about $1,200 per customer.

The internally-intended Simple document that the reporter had dropped on his virtual lap said, however, that Simple has a little more than 33k active customers, and that growth in new customers and deposits per customer are slower than expected.

In a blog post published in response to the reporter’s article, Reich defends the company’s apparently more stricter definition of active customer (which takes into account swipe frequency and deposits vs. one financial transaction per month, which Reich asserts is the “traditional” definition of an active customer.

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