Fortú makes play for underserved US Latinos

The news: The US-based neobank emerged from a year in stealth mode on Thursday in partnership with SoFi’s Galileo unit and LendingClub

Fortú’s founders aim to address challenges that Latinos face in the US banking market, such as overreliance on nonbank financial institutions to send remittances abroad and regulations limiting services in languages other than English.

More on this: Fortú offers features including a mobile app, a debit card and savings account, and remittance transfers in partnership with payment solutions provider Wise

The neobank, which has raised $5 million in capital, is teaming up with existing fintechs for different portions of its tech stack: Payments processing platform Galileo is providing its API, while accounts and cards are offered through LendingClub Bank. 

The big takeaway: Fortú sees an opportunity to win loyal customers by targeting a large underserved market, which could be a starting point for attracting US Latinos more broadly.

Fortú’s initial customer acquisition strategy is focused squarely on underserved US Latinos. It has a large addressable market within the approximately 60 million-strong Latino population: Citing Federal Reserve data, the neobank notes that 10% of US Hispanics are unbanked, while another 22% are underbanked. Providing banking products tailored to underserved Latinos may give the company a chance to lock in loyal customers within an untapped group ahead of expanding its reach. The neobank could then enlarge its user base to include Latinos who are not underserved, but may gravitate to it through marketing and word-of-mouth recommendations from earlier customers.