Community bank launches digital account targeting the unbanked

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Axiom Bank in Orlando, Fla., has launched an all-digital account it says is designed for the underbanked and unbanked.

AxiomGo is a paperless checking account for customers who want an alternative to prepaid cards and traditional checking, the bank said.

The $560 million-asset Axiom partnered with the fintech firm Malauzai to design and deploy a mobile app that “meets the unique needs of a traditionally underbanked community, providing users a dynamic, bilingual, mobile banking experience,” it said Thursday.

The app, which had a soft launch in December, has a Spanish-language option and enables users to open and fund an account and set up direct deposit via a mobile device. Other features include the ability to pay bills by snapping a photo; check deposit; fund transfer and peer-to-peer payments; and access to built-in budgeting and personal finance management tools.

“Our primary goal has always been to make people’s financial lives easier," Ron Strand-Sorrell, the bank's chief operating officer, said in a press release.

"For many in our community," he said, "AxiomGo provides the first tangible banking experience that not only eliminates expensive fees, but also enables them to perform any banking transaction needed at any time of day, regardless of the bank’s traditional hours of operation or the individual’s current location."

Strand-Sorrell told American Banker earlier this year that Axiom planned to expand regionally and nationally with an all-digital product; it received a national charter last year. The bank currently operates 23 branches, 22 of which are in Walmart retail locations.

“We are constantly asking the question, how do we provide banking services and tools to a customer that may never actually enter a physical branch?” Strand-Sorrell said in the press release.

“Working with Malauzai," he said, "our primary goal was to develop an app that provided users the ability to complete all of their banking transactions from their mobile phone. Essentially we wanted to give them the bank in the palm of their hand.”

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