Michael Gastauer’s Perspectives on Global Expansion and Cultural Diversity
The year 2023 has been a considerably successful one for Toronto-based global digital banking company Black Banx. In just the first nine months of the year, the group of financial institutions earned the patronage of over 11 million new customers, bringing its total client base to more than 33 million customers in total.
The strategic target for 2023 had initially been to reach 30 million clients after 12 months. However, having outperformed this goal as early as September and currently onboarding an average of over 1.8 million new users per month, Black Banx has now adjusted its plans and set the new forecast to 38 million clients by end of this year.
During the same nine months, the group earned a profit before tax of US$ 158 million. This turned out to be the highest figure Black Banx would earn in a nine month span since 2015, and was achieved despite absorbing non-operating costs of US$ 14 million. Excluding those costs,profit before tax would have been US$ 172 million in the first three quarters of 2023, up from US$89 million in the prior year period. Black Banx delivered year-on-year revenue growth of 72% in the third quarter and 47% in the first six months of 2023, substantially outperforming its original target of 55% in compound annual growth from the year prior.
Global Expansion Driven by Financial Inclusion
Presently offering its services to customers in over 180 countries, it is evident how Black Banx’s global approach to digital banking is paying off handsomely from a revenue standpoint. According to Gastauer, having the group be global in-scope right from the start wasn’t initially about taking advantage of the opportunities that different markets presented, but simply making sure those who needed global banking got it.
“Our aim has always been to achieve greater overall financial inclusion. When Black Banx was established, it first sought to increase the simplicity of online banking, dramatically reduce transaction times, and make sure that this level of convenience was available to everyone, but most especially to those who’ve never had access to proper banking services because traditional institutions were simply limited.”
“To make financial transactions easier, more user-friendly and more rewarding for everyone, it remains vital that we have a presence not only in established markets, but also those that are still developing. According to the Center for Financial Inclusion, there are over 1.7 billion unbanked individuals globally. Black Banx cannot imagine reaching all of these people if, like other fintechs, we limited ourselves to common markets like the U.K. and the U.S.”
Cultural Diversity From the Team to the Customers
Established in 2014 and subsequently launched to the public a year later in 2015, Black Banx being in operations for just under a decade makes its availability in literally hundreds of markets all over the world all the more impressive.
While Black Banx makes borderless banking look easy thanks in large to this and prior years’ revenues and customer growth, the group actually makes substantial efforts in ensuring that the services and solutions they offer are indeed locally tailored and is beneficial to each market they enter. According to Michael Gastauer, the foundation to this is having a culturally diverse team.
“We believe that diversity amongst employees, with their varying perspectives, talents and contributions, enriches our interactions with clients, our work life, and the communities in which we live and work. Black Banx supports its employees’ talents and strives to be an employer of choice. In all the places that have team members, we make sure we comply with all applicable laws providing equal opportunity and chances for advancement for all individuals.”
From inside with the team to outside to the customers, Black Banx aims to change the world by changing banking, namely, making it accessible for everyone.
“The Black Banx Group aims to use our unique expertise, capabilities, breadth and perspectives to open up new kinds of opportunities for our customers. We’re bringing together people, ideas and capital to nurture progress and growth, helping to create a better world – for our customers, our people, our shareholders, our communities and our environment.”