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Hosted by top 5 banking and fintech influencer, Jim Marous, Banking Transformed highlights the challenges facing the banking industry. Featuring some of the top minds in business, this podcast explores how financial institutions can prepare for the future of banking.

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Daylight: Meeting the Unique Needs of the LGBTQ+ Community

Close to 30 million Americans self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex or asexual according to recent polls, with a collective spending power of $1 trillion a year. Despite the size of the market, 44% of LGBTQ+ people consistently struggle to maintain regular savings.

This podcast is not a political conversation, while we will be touching on political issues. It is an analysis of how a digital banking platform can transform the banking experience for a unique community by creating products and content specific for a segment’s needs.

My guest on the Banking Transformed podcast is Rob Curtis, CEO of Daylight, the first digital bank focused on the needs of the LGBTQ+ community. Rob shares the challenges this community faces from a financial perspective, and how Daylight is addressing these issues.

Jim Marous:
Hello and welcome to Banking Transformed, the top podcast in retail banking. I'm your host, Jim Marous, founder and CEO of the Digital Banking Report and co-publisher of The Financial Brand.

Jim Marous:
Close to 30 million Americans self-identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, or asexual according to recent polls, with a collective spending power over $1 trillion a year. Despite the size of this market, 44% of the LGBTQ community consistently struggles to meet and maintain basic savings.

Jim Marous:
This podcast is not a political conversation, even though we'll touch upon some political subjects. It is an analysis of how a digital banking platform can transform banking experiences for unique communities by creating products and content that are specific to individual households. My guest on today's podcast is Rob Curtis, CEO of Daylight, the first digital bank focused on the needs of the LGBTQ community. Rob shares the challenges his community faces from a financial perspective, as well as how Daylight addresses these issues.

Jim Marous:
So welcome to the show today, Rob. Serving a unique marketplace in today's digital world must go beyond a catchy name for a product or a targeted marketing campaign. This is the same if you're serving a Gen Z customer as it is for building a brand new bank for the LBGTQ community. An organization needs to understand the unique needs through micro personalization and just as importantly probably, community-related content. So before we dig into how your startup Daylight is tackling this challenge, Rob, can you give me a little bit of a background into your background and a little bit about your executive team and the various roles you've had that prepared you to build this brand new organization?

Rob Curtis:
You'll notice that I sound a little funny, I'm Australian. And you asked me about my background. My background has been really varied. I started in economic policy for the Australian government focused around employment and immigration. I wrote the employment strategy for immigrants and young people when I was way back in Australia and then moved to London in 2005 and worked across banking, charities. I've run a dating app. I've built a mental health marketplace for the queer community.

Rob Curtis:
So I'd say my career has really been in two hubs. My time in corporate America, in corporate land, focusing on digital transformation, building really cool things. And then the latter half in working for LGBT consumer companies. And it was a really interesting pivot making from banking where I was rolling out terminals, banking platforms at a merchant bank in London, and then approached to do a turnaround on a 20-year-old consumer company called Gaydar, which is really the first of its kind social networking and dating for our community on the web. And that was in 2017 and I think while I was there, I found my mission in life, which is to really kind of tap into my own lived experience and to do things that don't only support things that I care about, but that my chosen family cares about too. So since I moved to Gaydar, I became an entrepreneur. This is now my fourth LGBT consumer business in a row.

Rob Curtis:
And what I love about Daylight is that it feels like the culmination of all of those experiences together. You know, I can tap into banking, that's really helpful obviously, leading a banking organization and for my sins, I was an auditor for a while in a financial services company. So I know all about regulations, enough to keep me up at night. And on the other hand, dating is a community business. And so I have the opportunity to understand how our community communicates with one another, what their pain points are, what they aspire towards. It's really helpful for this personalization that you refer to. But also I have the experience in economic policy and banking that really gives me the financial chops to be able to bring a product like this to market. So I love what I do at Daylight. It's a really great company to work for and I'm really pleased to be here.

Jim Marous:
So it's interesting, as with any of the microsegments, I'm going to call them microsegments at least, that the FinTech marketplace serves, it's all about having the uniformity of market to some degree, but more importantly, usually is serving a marketplace that traditional banking has either ignored or at least, at the very least not understood. Are the needs of the gay community and the queer community differentiated enough and the segment large enough to support building a strong business in banking around that?

Rob Curtis:
Yeah, Jim, you know, this is a conversation that I encountered many, many times when I went through fundraising, which you know, for a queer person is hard enough, but when you're building for queer communities it's particularly challenging.

Rob Curtis:
Let me tell you the story of a young queer woman and her financial life to give you a sense about how our financial lives are different. So at 14, a young queer person should be saving for college because when they come out to their parents, there is a 50% chance that they'll be cut off financially for the rest of their life. Now that means no pocket money in college, no paying for the education. That means no financial advice, no inheritance, and on and on and on. So we start off on the back foot just because of the nature of families. We come out of college that many of us self fund with 50% more college debt and our early 20s and late 20s are doing identity exploration.

Rob Curtis:
So normally we figure out who we are in high school and in our family unit, relatively safe environments, these aren't safe places for queer people. So we discover who we are in our community in our early 20s and up to our 30s and by the time we've kind of figured those things out, dealing with different mental health costs, dealing with healthcare costs if you're a trans or non-binary person, we actually start thinking about our finances in the same way that maybe our own siblings do eight to 10 years later, in our 30s. And so we've started off already behind and then because we are focused on other things, we're not laying those foundational financial behaviors that are really important for setting up a successful financial life. You look further on, we want to have children, a surrogacy can cost $200,000 for something that can be done for free for most hetero couples and then we want to retire in places that are supportive of our community and there are only eight or nine inclusive retirement centers in the country and 46% of people want to retire amongst their community.

Rob Curtis:
So we have differences in financial behavior. We have really unique pain points around healthcare and family building and we start off with a really parallel financial life. And I think why this is really fascinating for us is these are problems that markets can solve and I think this is why Daylight is a really interesting opportunity is because we can differentiate financial services in many of those barriers of complexity in ways that don't just require us to put a rainbow sticker on a commodity banking product.

Jim Marous:
Yeah. And so speaking of Daylight and how you're serving the community and the differentiation, how are you trying to succeed where legacy finance institutions and other neobanks actually have failed?

Rob Curtis:
So we started from the perspective of dignity and our first product was our checking account. And we went to market with a very simple proposition. You can have your name on your card, irrespective of what your legal ID says. It sounds like a luxury, but when you're a trans or a non-binary person, like my co-founder Billy, getting your name changed and your gender marker updated is an expensive and complex process and her experience at a large retail bank in the U.S. was 30 to 50 hours of manual effort. She had to go to a judge, a lawyer, a notary, the teller, tell them all that she was a trans woman throughout that process. And in the end, she got her name updated on one card, but no other part of that bank's services.

Rob Curtis:
And so when you are a young trans or non-binary person, and there's more than a million of them in the country, you want to be treated with dignity by a company that sees you. And so we started there. We gave them recognition. Perhaps the first institution in their life that had ever taken them seriously in the identity that they were proud of. And it's an example of how we go really deep on our customer's pain points and serve not only the functional needs of their banking, can I move money around and can I put money away, but the emotional component to that as well. Because I think what people get wrong is that banking is a highly emotional service. Nobody says no in a way that stings like a loan rejection. And so we are constantly talking to our customers, finding out where their pain points are and then behind the scenes doing the real work. To get a name on your card irrespective of what your legal ID says means we've had to change APIs with every partner. We had to negotiate with Visa to change how they see and perceive trans and non-binary customers globally. We have to negotiate this with every compliance partner, everybody else.

Rob Curtis:
And so our goal is understand those pain points, find a service that does the right thing for our customers and then we do the work behind the scenes to make that look effortless to our customers even though many of these things require quite complex changes in a banking system that's pretty old.

Rob Curtis:
And then we pull that thread. So if we've started with just identity, then we move on to what are your life events? Life events are really different. How can we help a young trans person afford gender-affirming care at a time when they're particularly financially vulnerable? How do we support family creation for the 62% of queer millennials that want to expand to their family? An incredible number of people who just don't have a couple of hundred thousand dollars to put on a surrogacy. And I think we win when we are personalized. We win when we are differentiated and the queer community by virtue of the political environment in which we've grown up in and the level of education that our families have about our uniqueness provide a really rich opportunity space for us and our challenge is just to pick the right audience, to continue to focus on those pain points obsessively so that we keep our customers happy.

Jim Marous:
It's always interesting. On this podcast, we've talked a lot about something deeper than just a good customer experience. We're talking a lot about building engagement tools because really, organizations and people, small businesses and consumers, are really diversifying their financial holdings based on their needs and almost building their own open banking platform, trying to find those services and those things they can engage with more fully well. Well, part of that is a content strategy. So beyond allowing customers to have their preferred name on debit cards, you also have a very strong content strategy, including an interesting feature called walk the walk, which is as I understand it, an analytics tool that rates companies based on their gender inclusiveness. And can you explain a little bit about not only that feature, but also other content initiatives they're trying to undertake the help the community you're trying to serve?

Rob Curtis:
Yeah, sure. I'll start with walk the walk and then I'll tell you about some of our trans-affirming planning tools and some of the direction we're going into in infertility. So walk the walk really speaks to two dynamics. Number one, the vast majority of LGBT folks identify as Democratic or Independent. And number two, Republican voting records in today's highly polarized world consistently seek to undermine the rights of LGBT Americans. There are 300 anti-LGBT bills being put in front of legislative sessions right now. And those votes often in a polarized world go straight down party lines. And so our customers are saying, "How do I know that I'm shopping with intent and in line with my values in a world where everyone is putting rainbows on things and pretending like they are great for our community?"

Rob Curtis:
And so we have been working with our community and with external partners to analyze the political donations that are being made by corporate PACs to ask our customers about what the experience was like in person. Were their microaggressions? Was there a rainbow flag hung up that made them feel welcome? Is this an LGBT-owned business? And we crowdsource this data and we are sharing it back with our customers as an analytics tool. And we see this as part of our wider strategy to change the behavior of our customers in a direction that they want and in this instance, it's telling them there is a queer-owned coffee shop just across from that Starbucks across the road. Keep money in your community. Or maybe you don't know this, but AT&T donated a million dollars to anti-LGBT and anti-trans causes. Maybe they aren't the best place to have your phone bill.

Rob Curtis:
And so not only do we kind of surface those insights, but we are in a position to be able to provide recommendations of alternatives. And it's an example of how we can mobilize our community to spend more in line with their value and more intentionally, but hopefully use market forces to drive an equality agenda that encourages companies to do the right thing rather than just say that they're going to. And our customers love this.

Rob Curtis:
A couple of other areas that are interesting from a content perspective is around how we support people on family planning and trans-affirming care planning. So if you go into Daylight right now and you open up a savings goal, very common, commodity-type product in neobanks, and you select gender-affirming care, you'll be introduced to our non-binary virtual assistant called Ray. And Ray guides a trans or a non-binary person through the complexities of planning gender-affirming care.

Rob Curtis:
It's actually really, really complicated. I think people have a paradigm in their mind of you start one gender and you go to the other and it's a very linear pass. That's actually not how it works. There's no fixed destination. There are a hundred ways of doing this. And so when you go in to create a savings goal, we ask you are you saving for top surgery, bottom surgery, facial feminization surgery, hair removal, really common procedures that are part of a gender-affirming care journey. And rather than making our customers go out and research what those costs are, we benchmark them and bring them straight into the tool for you. So you would select bottom surgery. It would automatically default the amount that you should be saving towards. We even bring in how quickly our consumers save, that amount.

Rob Curtis:
And so what we're doing is we're going that extra mile of saying, not just here's a savings account, tell me what to call it, but what are you saving for? How can we help you with managing through that lifestyle complexity and the financial complexity, and then set you up for financial success with the savings product.

Rob Curtis:
And I think this is an example of where the unique pain points in a highly complex and ever-changing legal environment gives a company like Daylight an opportunity to provide real value for our customers because there's a lack of authoritative sources on the internet. There's a lot of people out there giving financial advice on TikTok, but actually being an institution that spends time obsessing over these things provides us with an authority that is really valuable to our customers. And I think this is an area of amazing differentiation that creates financial value, but also continues on that personalization journey that you referred to earlier.

Jim Marous:
So Rob, how does your organization focus on the financial needs of the queer community without getting too expansive? I mean, you've talked a lot of things that would be, and even in a traditional financial institution considered really in a non-financial way, deep and broad. Do you enlist partners and other organizations to partner with yours to be able to dig deeper into these other issues that go beyond what I'll call a traditional financial services solution?

Rob Curtis:
You know, Jim, it's actually the opposite way around. Corporates come to us to ask how they can do better. And you know, in 2020, when we came to market and said Daylight is going to exist, we are building this thing, people laughed. They were like, "There's no opportunity for differentiation for this community. We don't recognize their pain points. We don't understand them."

Rob Curtis:
So we hired a bunch of obsessive who researched, got into the weeds, whether that's how credit scores work, or how people plan for IVF, and we built knowledge that just didn't really exist in the world beforehand. And a big part of how we fundraise was to tell the world about the unique pain points of queer people and what that ended up doing for us as a company was bring other corporates and other investors to us and say, how can we do better? Because they've only got so many resources to deploy and queer people are continued to be seen as an edge case when it comes to product development. They're not a large enough segment for people to focus on.

Rob Curtis:
And so actually what we find is that people are coming to us to tap into our expertise. That's very different from the ability to be able to take all of those pain points and then focus, that is definitely a journey that we continue to go on, but I am very proud that our team has surfaced some incredible insights about the financial lives of queer people that it felt like the world didn't even know existed two years ago. And now I see our pain points and our voice and many of the insights that we've shared being shared by large incumbent banks and even new neobanks and I think the role that we get to play as a community-led neobank is a little bit of education and advocacy too and so it tends to go in the opposite direction, Jim. We're educating the world rather the other way around.

Jim Marous:
Well, that's interesting because very much like any other microsegment that we may talk about, it could be those over 60, it could be, as I mentioned earlier, Gen Z or Gen X. There's a pervasive idea that LGBTQ community is awash in disposable income, that the households are all somewhat similar and the people think alike. This is obviously a tremendous miscalculation. How does Daylight drill down to the uniqueness of each of your customers? Because very much like not every 60-year-old is the same, not every queer community person is the same.

Rob Curtis:
Indeed. And I think it's an example of where many sectors, but finance in particular, get it wrong is assuming that we're a monolith community and for whatever reason, we love rainbows. Can't get enough of rainbows. I understand why, we have a rainbow flag, but I think it's an example of where when you don't pay enough attention to micro-segmentation within a large community like ours, you assume that we're all the same.

Rob Curtis:
I'll give you a couple of data points. 20% of queer people of color are unbanked. At the other end of the spectrum, two gay men in a relationship earn more than heterosexual couples on average. So vastly different experiences. If you're in a red state or a blue state, really different. If you're in a metropolitan or a local community, really different experiences. And so I would say it hasn't been a challenge to understand what those pain points are. I'd say something that we're learning as we go, and we're two years old, but we're still a fairly early-stage financial services company is understanding how to balance an inclusive service that is designed for a community that are often excluded with the need to be hyper focused.

Rob Curtis:
And I'll give you an example. Our first product was designed to be a replacement bank for under 29 queer people. Get them young, give them financial education, set them up for success later in life. It's still a very, very broad market. If I asked every under-29-year-old person what their favorite movie is, it would run the gamut of different lifestyles, different opinions, different levels of wealth, all sorts of things like that. And so it's actually been an art and a science for us to figure out how we can balance inclusion, find the most impactful and revenue-making opportunities so that we can continue to do our great work through later fundraising.

Rob Curtis:
And that is a tricky balance to strike. You know, we push too much trans-inclusive content, folks who are experiencing different pain points ask us why they're not seeing themselves represented in the product and vice versa. And so this is a constantly evolving thing for a community whose rights and opinions are not monolithic. I would like to think that the community is actually thousands of micro communities all stitched together under a single banner and our job is to hire within the community as much as we can and to build advisors around us that help us to understand where the right place to point ourselves is.

Jim Marous:
That's great. You know, right now, before we go on a break, how many customers does Daylight currently have and how do you market your service?

Rob Curtis:
Yeah, so we're lucky to have thousands of customers right now. We've acquired them in a number of ways. So towards the end of last year, we started building a wait list that we have been progressively off boarding folks off. So we got about a thousand people sign up to our wait list in a little under a hundred days. That was really the first time that we'd started pushing and marketing. And where we saw success was when we went to local communities and we spoke to them in their own language. Now, that could be a partnership with a queer-run merchant. So everyone's got a favorite queer merchant on maybe the gay street in their town. How do we partner with them to speak to their customers while also advertising their products to folks that don't walk down that street very often?

Rob Curtis:
We have cars driving around with big signs on them. LED lights describing Daylight, it's value proposition, in the neighborhoods where queer people cluster. You take West Hollywood is 47% queer people. And so what we do is we go to our customers where they are in person, which has been a little bit tough during the pandemic, but in digital spaces too. The first thing every person does when they figure it out is go online. Find their community online and so those are rich opportunities for us, but we know that when we build acquisition through communities, we get the social proof, we get the ambassadorship, we get low-cost acquisition and we get authenticity and those are the things that help a company like us with.

Jim Marous:
So let's take a short break here and recognize the sponsor of this podcast. Welcome back to Banking Transformed. So today I'm joined by Rob Curtis, the CEO of Daylight, the first digital bank targeting the needs of the LGBTQ community. We have been discussing the needs of this unique segment and how Daylight hopes to build scale. So when we talk about scale, Rob, we're also talking about having to finance the building of this organization. So can you talk a little bit about how you've gotten financing but more importantly, how difficult it's been in the marketplace when you're going after really a very unique segment.

Rob Curtis:
It's a really interesting question. It is data from StartOut, which is a large nonprofit focused on venture and company building for LGBT folks. So there's about a 1% likelihood of getting venture cash as a queer founder if I'm out compared to a non-queer person. When you overlay on top of that we are focused on a product for the queer community, it's a bit of an uphill ask, particularly given that there's incredibly low levels of education amongst venture communities and others about the lives of queer people and indeed just how many of them there are. There are 30 million LGBT people in the country and if you put us all into a single place, we'd be the second largest state behind California.

Rob Curtis:
So every single investor pitch, I had to educate people on the pain points of my community, on the size of the community, of the incredibly rich embedded finance opportunity that comes when you move beyond what they've seen a hundred times over, which is an ATM with rainbows on it or a card with rainbows on it. And so fundraising to VCs was a really interesting journey. We were very lucky to have been supported by Gaingels, which is frankly one of the most successful VCs in the country right now deploying more cash than just about anybody else.

Rob Curtis:
So they give you a leg up, but it was the same old beaten path as every other Fintech founder of standing up in front of people, pitching a business, selling a vision over and over and over again until people bite. And I think I'm lucky to not be a particularly scary queer person. I've worked in finance, I have a good track record, I've run businesses, and yet over and over again, we've got the same questions. Isn't this too small? I thought they were all rich. There's no differentiation here. And so it was very much an exercise in tapping into the core value of our company, which is tenacity. And we are a tenacious a lot because queer folks have to be tenacious to take advantage of the hands that we are dealt.

Rob Curtis:
But we've been really, really lucky to have had the outcomes, we've been backed by some incredible investors, Kapor Capital at our first round, we have a number of new investors including Anthemis, Citibank have extended their relationship with us, JP Morgan through the Financial Health Network and the list goes on. I think once we got the storytelling right and once we went to the media and started selling our story around the pain points and lived experience of our community, it got easier, but it has not been a straightforward path.

Rob Curtis:
Because you know when you are talking to somebody whether the topic that you were talking about is personally distasteful and I've sat in front of meetings where I get that little crinkle in the eye where somebody's like, "How long can I let this clock run out because I will never invest in a company for these people." And I think that is something that is an exercise in resilience, but the good news for us is that we always knew that this is a highly differentiated opportunity with a large and growing and thriving community and we just had to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Jim Marous:
You know, it's interesting. The pandemic did a lot of things. There are a lot of changes in our way of looking at things. And one of the things that I think has really come out of the pandemic in the financial services world is a search for authenticity and empathy that consumers in their next decision, they may not close your existing account because it's not good enough for them, but they're opening other accounts based on how well do you know me, understand me, and will reward me. And this gets down to empathy and awareness and authenticity and overall transparency.

Jim Marous:
It appears you check off all those boxes in spades at a time when it's really difficult. But I would imagine that also helps when you're meeting with investors from the standpoint of, they can't just write a check to get you to be quiet. The reality is, there's more needed there and there's got to be a buy-in and I think the awareness of that since the pandemic has really helped in many cases while there's also challenges that have come about.

Jim Marous:
So overall, what you're having to do here more than anything else is using data and analytics to build really strong personalization of communication and also measure success. How do you address using data and analytics right now? Do you outsource that? Do you build it internally? Do you use your partner bank? How do you actually meet the needs of a highly differentiated microsegment?

Rob Curtis:
It's a great question, Jim. And I think we're early enough in our growth that we're still playing in the art of small numbers. And what I mean by that is that we make investments in data and analytics in MarTech, which is a big investment for us during Q2 this year, we're spinning up our own data and analytics team. But we're early enough that you can segment after segment after segment a number to the point where it becomes in the margin of error or relatively meaningless. And so we are still at this point where we've got all of those insights, but we have to back them up with quality conversations with people in our community. And how we do that is we build features around those things. When you create a savings goal, it fires off a GIF into our community feed that tells everybody what you're saving for. It's great for us. We get to understand more about our customers, see how other people are interacting with them and we capture that information in our CRM, that's one example.

Rob Curtis:
But the other is just we keep talking to people, over and over and over again. And we are more than 90% as a team. So we get the opportunity to tap into our own lived experience, which gives us a series of hunches and hypotheses that are often very good, but just need a little bit of validating. We build tools and features that ask our customers what their goals and ambitions are and then we capture that data and we use it to continue to talk to them in their own language, through our own analytics tools and marketing tech. And we back it all up with conversation after conversation after conversation.

Rob Curtis:
You know, I'm flying to Provincetown on Sunday with my founders and a number of members of my team because it's family equality week. And we are going to talk to hundreds of queer families about what their pain points are around fertility, which is rapidly changing post-Dobbs, because IVF is covered under anti-abortion laws. And so it is this idea of not only backing up your data and insights, marrying it up with your lived experience, but always falling back on the best relationship you can have with a customer, which is not a data-led conversation, it's a human conversation. And I think our community is more likely to experience loneliness and isolation that gives us this great opportunity to hear from our customers. And they share things with us that I would never believe. I've seen pictures of people going through gender transitions. I see pictures of people's dogs. They share those things to other queer people in our digital community and I think this is an example of where we just have a one up over every incumbent bank who would be terrified to give their customers an opportunity to do that.

Rob Curtis:
I see that as an incredible opportunity and it adds value not just to us, but it adds value to other customers. We rolled out this feature around sharing your savings goal very early on. And one of our investors who's very friendly created a savings goal and he called it when shit hits the fan. As you get to personalize these things, it went into the channel, a lot of engagement and what we found is over the course of the next week, about a third of the savings goals that were created were around emergency funds. Now this is not a sexy part of your financial life. It's probably a more shameful part of your financial life.

Jim Marous:
The reality.

Rob Curtis:
It's a reality, exactly. And what we'd actually done is by creating a space to not only allow us to talk to our customers in one direction, but to create a two-way dialogue with our customers and a dialogue between our customers, they were able to teach each other how to do better. And I think this is why we think community is the centerpiece of banking. Not just because it's great for segmenting on marketing and product development, but because communities think about money together in really interesting ways and I think I would always back data up with real, in-person conversations, because I think that's where the quality comes from.

Jim Marous:
You know, you talk about the community, you're obviously very passionate about the community you're serving. One of the things I read and correct me if I'm wrong, that you're potentially going to be building a platform for people to actually help fund other people's goals that you just referenced somebody's goals in your community. Can you explain a little bit about how that maybe crowdfunding effort could take place?

Rob Curtis:
Yeah, sure thing. So right now, today, the number one funding source for transgender healthcare in America is GoFundMe. Not an insurer, not an employer, not national healthcare, it is GoFundMe. And it reflects a reality that transgender healthcare is expensive, it's difficult to access in a lot of places.

Rob Curtis:
Now, is it stopping people from transitioning? Absolutely not. More and more trans folk are coming out, but they're going to have to hustle for their money in a different way. And so through the pandemic in particular, we saw a really big shift towards mutual aid in our community. What that looks like is, as a trans or a non-binary person and I'm going to start there, but this could apply for many of the pain points that happen in our community, but this is potentially the most acute and current, they'll create a GoFundMe, they'll share it with their Twitter, it will circulate through mutual aid networks and just social networks and people will crowdsource each other's transitions. And it was almost like, this month is one person, this month is the next person and through micro donations, we as a community are coming together to afford really big life-changing expenses.

Rob Curtis:
Now that is not a system that works for everybody. It has bias in it. There's bias along racial lines, gender lines, all sorts of things because it's an open marketplace. What we want to do is to take that and productize it because we have many different types of customers. We have wealthy folks that really want to do well by others who perhaps have fought their battles. They've got success and they want to be able to give back to people and real people, not just a national charity, but somebody whose life they are transforming.

Rob Curtis:
On the other side, we've got people that are deeply financially excluded, who will struggle to afford HRT. They'll struggle to have a child. And so we see ourselves as building an opportunity for a marketplace between those two customer segments. It is how our customers are already managing their money through an alternative finance system that you probably have all never thought about before today. We get the opportunity to productize it and do it in a safe environment and I think that's an example of how we think really differently about banking by just understanding how money moves in communities right now because it doesn't move in the way you'd expect.

Jim Marous:
So as we close up the podcast today, a couple questions I have. One is right now you're pretty much a deposit services financial institution. Can you envision expanding your services to include loans as well?

Rob Curtis:
Yes. Areas of-

Jim Marous:
That was an easy answer. There you go.

Rob Curtis:
Access to family building and family creation, access to gender-affirming care are really expensive things. People are putting them on high interest credit cards right now, it doesn't need to be that way. Those are incredible differentiated opportunities for us to support our customers and deliver impact.

Jim Marous:
You know, obviously the queer community is not just an American phenomenon. It's global. You came from Australia, you had a good amount of time in London. Do you see the possibility of a geographic marketplace expansion for Daylight?

Rob Curtis:
I want a Daylight card in the hands of queer people everywhere the sun shines.

Jim Marous:
Which makes scale possible. Which is one of those interesting things that makes scaling not only possible but feasible, I think.

Rob Curtis:
Indeed. There's half a billion queer people in the world. According to Credit Suite, we are the fourth largest economy in the world as a community. So starting from the U.S. where there's a large addressable market, the social conditions are right, the legal conditions and the financial system is right, gives us the opportunity to then refine this offer and then personalize it for every market. Now it may not be a card offering in every market. It may be our marketplace offer or our advisory offer. But yes, we have global ambitions and I want that card everywhere the sun shines.

Jim Marous:
And finally, what recommendation, knowing that you can't have every single queer community person as a customer of your bank, even though I have no doubt you're going to keep trying, what recommendations do you give a traditional bank or a Fintech firm as they try to better fit financial services for the community that you serve?

Rob Curtis:
I'm going to give you two, because I'm cheeky. Number one, allow trans people to put a card on the name, irrespective of what their legal ID says. It's 2022. These are solvable problems, solve them today. But the second thing is ask your customers who's queer so that you can personalize for them. Most banks don't want to because they're afraid that it will show that they've got deep discrimination in loan provision, mortgage provision, and other things like that. But you'll never serve a community if you don't know who they are.

Jim Marous:
With that, if anybody squints a little bit, they can apply this to everything they do because the reality is, this is a story about unique communities in the marketplace that can range from the wealthy to the not wealthy. And Rob, I really thank you for being on the show today. As I mentioned before, the podcast, there aren't many firms that reach out to me that I say, yes, we'd like you on the show. I usually reach out to the firms to see it. But this was a gap that I had not addressed and one that I wanted to address and I'm glad we were able to get you on the show.

Rob Curtis:
Thank you very much for having me, Jim. I really appreciate the platform.

Jim Marous:
We will have you on again. Thanks, Rob.

Rob Curtis:
Thank you.

Jim Marous:
Thanks for listening to Banking Transformed, the winner of three international awards for podcast excellence. If you enjoyed today's show, please take some time to give our show a five-star rating. In addition, be sure to catch my recent articles in The Financial Brand and the research we're doing for the Digital Banking Report. This has been a production of Evergreen Podcast. A special thank you to our producer, Leah Haslage, audio engineer, Sean Rule-Hoffman, and video producer Will Pritts. I'm your host, Jim Marous. Until next time remember, serving a unique segment is about hyperpersonalization. It is not about a fluffy marketing campaign, colors, or stickers.

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