Importance of neobanks and bank-customer relationships

What do neobanks bring to specific communities? And why si it important for banks to build good relationships with customers?
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Being a black American in the US and experiencing how underserved this community is, not only from an education or employment point of view but also from a financial one, was for Donald Hawkins a starting gear for filling the gap in the market.

He could see how the community lacked financial literacy; they didn’t understand how wealth building and money itself worked. Donald decided to make a change. To do this, he established the first neobank for black Americans, Boulevard, to meet the needs of the community. And this was an inherently inclusive initiative; every community is welcome to use Boulevard’s services, regardless of race or color.

In the 2nd episode of Banking on Air with Helene Panzarino, Donald Hawkins talks not only about systematic oppression of black Americans: he talks about the necessity of community banks and importance of the relationship between banks and customers. With the world changing, particularly due to the impact of COVID-19, everything is happening virtually.

In fact, it’s fair to say that traditional banking isn’t possible anymore. In the past, banks were more transactional than relationship-oriented; but a saturated market requires more than good features. Banks need to keep up with generation Z to be able to survive and not be eaten by their competitors.

Easier to be said than done?

To hear more insights from Donald about Boulevard or relationship building, listen to our podcast Banking on Air! Find our podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Spotify or here:

Here is a rundown of episode:

  • 01:30 Introduction of Donald, black American reality and Boulevard bank
  • 6:26 Process of establishing a bank, and delegating in Griffin
  • 12:43 Concept of community banking and relationships
  • 16:35 Acquisition and keeping customers 
  • 25:41 Importance of keeping up
  • 38:08 Explaining Boulevard to your grandparents

Links from the episode:

With a career that covers both media and technology, Donald Hawkins applies a diverse mixture of skills to his role as Founder & Chief Executive Officer of his affinity neobank, Boulevard. As a serial entrepreneur, Donald has a goal of creating companies that truly help the masses.  With Boulevard, Donald is empowering members to take control of their money while eradicating the wealth gap of Black America.

‘Banking on Air’ is covering the challenges, opportunities, perspectives and opinions that matter in the world of fintech, digital and community banking, payments and technology. Our hosts Helene Panzarino and Marcel Klimo will look under the hood of the changing face of tech: the acceleration in all things digital, the impact of regulation and disruption, the need for genuine collaboration, and the specter of competitors old and new as it plays out in fintech and financial services around the world. 

This podcast is brought to you by Vacuumlabs – and we’re sharing our experience and expertise in creating solutions for the digital journey for professionals, community banks, and fintechs.  We believe that the future is in communities when it comes to digital transformation in financial services, and we invite you to join us and our guests over the coming weeks and months.

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