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Sarunas Legeckas talking about N26 and Trust at #TBSCONF20LUX

Sat, 15 Feb 2020

Rik Coeckelbergs Founder and CEO The Banking Scene

On January 30th, The Banking Scene organised its New Year's Boutique Conference 2020, and sparked the debate on trust in financial services.

We ended the evening with a panel called "How Should Banks Make Sure to Remain a Trusted Service Provider in The Future?".

Panellists were Thomas Steiger, CEO of VP Bank Luxembourg, Bruno Houdmont, CEO of Banque Degroof Petercam Luxembourg and Sarunas Legeckas, General Manager Greater Europe at N26.

with Sarunas we talked a bit in deeper detail about trust and how N26 deals with it.

We are here with Sarunas, General Manager Greater Europe of N26 and was one of the panellists today to talk about trust in the banking industry.
Sarunas, on January 23rd, N26 announced the milestone of 100 000 customer in Belgium and The Netherlands. Can you share how many customers are also loyal users of the app?

Sarunas: “First of all, on the 23rd we not only announced 100 000 in Belgium and the Netherlands, but also a big milestone which 5 million across the world, while celebrating our 5th birthday.

It’s a very big milestone for us. We consider a customer who went through the whole registration process, so it’s not a person who just downloads the app. Regarding the activity of users, of course we see very different activities across different geographies, but what we see is that the trend is going from people using N26 as a travel card, seasonally, to a daily activity.

The merchants, and the categories where people spend money which are usually groceries, gas stations, the ones that you buy and use every day. So, we are very happy with that.”

What do you think convinced those customers to switch from their old bank to N26 for those kind of activities?

Sarunas: “I think as what we discussed today (in the panel), in general there is a big disruption in regular banks, coming back from the crisis of 2008, there is this cannot feel attitude, power abuse, lack of ownership.

I think people are interested in something fresh and new, plus there is very little innovation happening in the banking industry and N26, being born 5 years ago, was a good catalyst to bring innovation and we have this new approach to banking. We’re building a brand that people love to use, we have good customer experience, we have good prices.

We are also very transparent on terms on conditions, … all these things combined makes us a trusted brand that helped us to get 5 million customers in just 5 years.”

One of the things that makes you different from Revolut, like you mentioned in the panel, is that you also exploit a banking license. During our trust interview you also put a lot of importance on that to make sure that the people who have put their money at N26 can be sure that it’s a well-regulated institution like any other bank.

Now recently, you also expanded to the United States, and there we see that you are working through partnerships. What was the main reason for this, and do you think that switching to your own banking license in the United States is also an option for the future?

Sarunas: “I think our first priority was since we were founded a company was to be a licensed bank, to provide the security and credibility of any regulated bank, including the guarantee of the 100 000 euro deposits insurance scheme, and other securities that regulation offers.

Meanwhile, while building the business in Europe, we saw we want to use the momentum and there was a big demand for our product in the United States, but unfortunately the whole regulation landscape is more difficult, is more complicated, whereas in Europe you can get a licence from the European Central Bank and passport it to all countries.

In the United States, you need a license of every different state.

It would take us a lot of effort, time and money, so we wanted to go and offer our great app to as many Americans as possible as soon as possible. So that’s why we partnered with Axos Bank based in San Diego, to be able to provide the same security in the States as we do in Europe.”

Would you like to be part of the debate? Join us in Amsterdam on September 24 or in Brussels on May 12.

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