N26 “nearly” hits half a million US customer mark
N26, the German challenger bank, has “nearly” hit the half a million-customer mark in the US.
The fintech, which launched stateside with US bank Axos in August 2019, cut 10% of its New York-based workforce back in May.
The cuts marked the first for the German start-up. Finance Fwd notes that the layoffs mainly concerned recruiting roles, suggesting growth in the region might have stagnated.
But these new numbers are almost double the numbers the fintech reported back in January.
Growth despite cuts
Whilst the challenger has not revealed the pace of its growth over the last year, it has shown where customers sit – both in terms of geography and age.
The highest concentration of users are in New York, followed by Chicago, Houston, Miami and Atlanta.
The average age of a US N26 customer is 36. Some 35% are in their 20s, 34% are in their 30s, and 19% are in their 40s.
Over the last year, the fintech has rolled out a number of products in the US – some of which are specific to, but not necessarily unique, in the region.
These include integrations with Google and Apple Pay, cashback rewards, two-day early direct deposit access, in-app fund transfers from non-N26 banks, spending limits and an ATM locator.
New products on the US horizon
“Over the past 12 months, we have learned a lot about our US customer base,” says Alexander Weber, the fintech’s chief growth officer.
“We’re excited to introduce additional tailored product features in the coming year,” he adds. One of these features will be related to cashback rewards, the company says in a statement.
Currently, N26 co-founder Valentin Stalf is heading up the fintech’s product activities. This follows the departure of its chief product officer Georgina Smallwood in mid-August.
Smallwood’s high-profile departure marked the seventh from N26 in less than a year.
Confidence in the management at “an all-time low”
Back in its domestic market, N26 has hit headlines due to its handling of employees who wanted to set up a works council.
Last autumn, the fintech experienced a data breach which saw an unknown number of employees gain unencrypted access to users’ current accounts.
Because the majority of employees bank with N26, it meant workers could – for an unclear amount of time – see what their peers were earning.
Finance Forward sources – which are unnamed employees – said management knew about the breach and was slow to react. This has partly fuelled a letter by employees to the founders saying confidence in management “is at an all-time low”.
The N26 founders later obtained an injunction against its employees when they tried to establish a works council to voice their issues. German unions did step in to help employees carry out elections for the council.
Founders Valentin Stalf and Maximilian Tayenthal claim such an elected body will go “against almost all values that we believe in at N26”.
Stalf has apologised for the founders’ handling of the situation.