There’s often a tradeoff between capital and independence. Brian Hamilton is experiencing that first hand, having just agreed to have his innovative neobank, ONE Finance, become part of the fintech joint venture of Walmart and Ribbit Capital.
He’s already spending a lot of time trying to convince skeptical customers that the banking app they love won’t disappear into corporate oblivion.
ONE Finance introduced its consumer banking accounts in September 2020, the intent being to bring middle-class consumers a convenient new form of banking account and credit card service at lower rates than traditional card issuers offer. Also built in are elements of “shareable finance,” the ability for people to cooperate financially, as well as budgeting aids. The emphasis is on no fees and no minimums (ONE relies on a banking as a service arrangement with Coastal Community Bank, which currently works with around 28 fintechs.)
Independence is critically important to Hamilton, founder of multiple fintechs. And though his ONE Finance neobank is being acquired by Hazel (the name of the Walmart-Ribbit joint venture), he says the deal will continue to give ONE Finance the ability to develop its suite of products with considerable latitude. There will be more capital muscle behind it, and there will also be entrée to two major audiences of potential customers: 1.6 million Walmart employees in the U.S., and 100 million+ weekly shoppers online and in stores.
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