Why credit unions should pay attention to BBVA’s acquisition of Simple

by. James Robert Lay

This past week, BBVA, a Madrid based bank with more than $785 billion in total assets, agreed to buy the neo-bank Simple for $117 million. I believe it is highly important for credit unions and community banks to pay attention to this deal.

Founded in 2009 with a mission to create “a bank that doesn’t suck,” Simple gained over 100,000 customers in just a short four years. Last year, Simple managed over $1.7 billion in transactions.

There business model has been optimized for mobile delivery and has no physical branch locations nor do they offer paper checks. Simple account holders get a debit card and have access to features such as direct deposit and money transfers. According Adam Erlebacher, COO at Simple, the majority of their customers have come from Bank of America, Chase and Citi.

While it may be easy to scoff at the deal as just another big company buying another startup, there are important lessons for credit unions and community banks to learn from as they prepare to generate leads for loans and new accounts in a humanized digital economy.

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