Challenger bank Majority opened a meet-up center in Miami's Little Havana on Thursday, as the startup continues its push to provide bundled digital banking, wire transfer and international calling services to the U.S.'s immigrant communities.
"We built it to be a multipurpose place with the foundation for social meeting," said Majority CEO Magnus Larsson, who first launched the digital banking platform in 2019 to serve Houston's large Nigerian immigrant community.
It's not typical for a digital bank to open a physical location in an effort to connect with customers, but Larsson said he recognized early on the importance of having a presence in the communities the platform serves.
"We needed to have our own space because we needed to be local," Larsson said. "We are coming in this from a digital point of view, but we also realize that we need to be willing to be part of this community. And this is one way to do that. ... We are not building a Chime or a Revolut, we're building a digital bank for all the different communities that we serve."
The space is meant to be used as an office for Majority employees during the day and as a community center on evenings and weekends, Larsson said.
Majority's technology and product teams are based in Sweden, where its sister company Rebtel, which is also headed by Larsson, is based. Majority has two teams based in Houston and Miami.
"I think the usage of the product will move digitally, but I still think that the local aspect and the cultural relevance is something that is fundamental and that's going to be hard to mimic with technology, at least where we are right now," Larsson said.
The opening of the new center, which aims to serve South Florida's large Cuban community, corresponds with the launch of the neobank's Migrant Handbook, an online resource to help immigrants navigate life in the U.S. by providing information on banking, healthcare, taxes and housing.
The launch of the online resource and the opening of Majority's second meet-up center — its first debuted in Houston last year — demonstrates the platform's mission to offer services beyond digital banking.
"We saw that there is such an obvious need for information, especially during the coronavirus period. In times of uncertainty, you need to understand what's happening. You need to understand what the government is doing and how it applies to you," Larsson said. "The Migrant Handbook is something we will continue to facilitate and update, and hopefully it can become a resource for everyone."
Majority's platform is subscription based. Its digital bank account, which it offers in partnership with Ohio-based Sutton Bank, provides customers with a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC)-insured account and a Visa prepaid card. The service costs $5 per month and features unlimited remittances, as well as international calling services.
In the years since Majority's launch, several other digital banks targeting the U.S.'s immigrant market have emerged.
Last year, Seattle-based digital remittance company Remitly launched the digital bank Passbook to serve the space, and more recently, neobank Cheese opened to serve the country's Asian and immigrant communities.
Larsson said he's happy to see more activity in the immigrant banking space, adding the growth indicates a demand for more targeted offerings in financial services.
"It's just showing that we're in the right place. I think we're in pole position right now, but we need to work really hard to stay there," he said. "I think it's also proof that the banking space is going to become verticalized. I'm quite sure about that."