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Leaving the US - Why and what it means for N26

Our Chief Growth Officer, Alex Weber, shares his personal thoughts on N26’s decision to cease operations in the US

2 min read

Today we announced that N26 will shortly leave the US market. As Chief Growth Officer, I have been closely involved in each and every one of N26’s market launches, and am naturally extremely close to our international teams. In this context, I have a couple of personal thoughts I would like to share about this decision. Let me start by saying that stepping out of a market is extremely difficult. And it is disappointing. 

The US launch in 2019 was a very special one, as it had been our first market outside of Europe. Two years in, we have taken an honest look at where we are today, what the challenges and opportunities are in front of us as a business and what our focus should be for the years ahead. While we recognize and celebrate the progress we have made since launching in the US market, where we have welcomed more than 500,000 customers, we know we would need to invest significantly more resources, and capacity of our central teams in order to achieve our ambitious goals for the market. 

On the flipside, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital banking globally, but in particular in Europe, at unprecedented rates. That is why - as painful as it is - we are deprioritising the US in order to sharpen our strategic focus on the important role we have to play as a pioneer in digital banking in Europe. We will prioritize the expansion of our product into new verticals in response to strong customer demand. In doing so, we believe we can expand our position as a digital banking leader, bringing an even better and more comprehensive offer to millions more.

As we look ahead, our mid-term internationalisation strategy is to continue deepening our footprint in existing core European markets, primarily Germany, France, Italy and Spain, as well as expanding our footprint into Eastern Europe. In addition, and independent from our central teams, we have established an autonomous business in Brazil that, powered by its own local license, is currently testing a local product and will look to bring the second era of FinTechs to the market in 2022. 

While I alongside our leadership team believe that this is the right decision for our business, I also feel incredibly sad about what this means for colleagues in our US Team. Having worked with many of them personally, I have witnessed their incredible contributions to N26, their passion for digital banking, their enthusiasm in the work they do each day, and the energy they poured into disrupting an industry for the better. 

As our teams will support our US customers through a smooth transition, we will do everything we can to support our US colleagues in the coming weeks. Wherever possible, we will work with them to explore roles in our global and European teams.  

We remain as committed as ever to transforming retail banking, and if anything, are more focused now than ever on this important goal.

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