Islamic banking and finance is becoming a space that more and more fintechs are exploring. We spoke to Hassan Waqar, Founder of MoneeMint, to discuss creating a digital bank for the Muslim community, the importance of building the right team, and some ideas on steering a business through COVID-19.
When was MoneeMint set up, and who was involved?
MoneeMint is a soon to be digital ethical Islamic bank in the UK. We have been going since 2019 where we have brainstormed many different product ideas which may potentially help our target audience in achieving their financial goals. I set up MoneeMint myself and very quickly the team expanded and we now have a team in Dubai, Pakistan and of course our home in London. We are a team with tons of experience which makes each member of our team unique. We are a bunch of innovators, technologists, entrepreneurs and futurists all geared to one common goal: To build the greatest bank on the planet.
Who exactly is your audience?
We are in a very interesting space at MoneeMint. Focusing on ethical finance, it’s the right time to enter the space where the consumer base is really concerned about the financial well-being. We are targeting the young millennials who are tech savvy, understand the importance of technology and most importantly, are very conscious about what the traditional banks are doing with their money and how they can become financially stable. With a wide range of products available on our platform including remittances, mortgages, pensions and wealth management we are the Netflix of banking.
Another major target market for us is the Muslim community. The current product offerings in the market do not cater for the needs of the everyday Muslim community but rather focusing on the wealthy population. That is where the question really sprang to my mind and I really asked myself, why do I have to pay more for Islamic banking than conventional banking? The interesting part of this segment is that we can really push our products to our customers not just in the UK but across Europe once we are in the place to expand.
Can you share any stumbling blocks that were experienced in the early days?
One of the biggest challenges I faced in the early days of MoneeMint was getting the right team on board. As we had a new idea, and the market is already saturated with challenger banks it was very difficult to get the right minds together. However, with our unique proposition, we are proud that we have the best brains in the industry under one roof.
Another major challenge with us was the acceptance of the tag line “banking the Hala way”. Prior to MoneeMint we were called Ummah Finance which was a brand that I set up myself with no support and team to assist in this. We were questioned about the Islamic Products in the market and what really happens in the Islamic finance space. We really went back to the drawing board and started from scratch. We wanted to associate ourselves with a brand that was fresh, represents ethical and also suitable for finance. That’s when MoneeMint was born. Since the launch of the rebrand, we have received some great attraction and most have created the freshest banking experience since now!
What are the things you are most proud of in your company’s journey?
Well, what’s there not to be proud of! There have been so many achievements that I am well proud of. Let’s mention a few!
We have rebranded and created a brand that has gained some great traction in the market and most importantly we have created a waitlist of over 15,000 people through just organic marketing. That is something big!
We have opened our Pakistan office which houses our marketing team and our CustomerOps team will be based out of the Pakistan Office.
We are also proud to partner with Railsbank who understand our product proposition and have shown great interest in our business model.
Finally, we are almost close to launch and this is something we are super excited about and this could not have been done without the support of our wonderful team here at MoneeMint!
Looking outside of MoneeMint now, how do you see your industry developing in the coming years?
Looking outside of monument the market is very saturated in a parking space where the competition is not as strong as it should have been I’m in comparison comparison to Monzo and Starling in the proposition is still the same and I think coming onto this Islamic fintech space it’s a new market segment for fintech and especially in the challenger banking space it’s an interesting time to not enter the market where there is room for innovation across different verticals where that’s from your customer operations to your customer experience to back office the whole system is now ready for innovation and I think this is where the biggest opportunity lies for fintech only work with so consumers but also to work with current banks in Islamic finance based change their business model train that operational strategies and work with them on creating a product that is very versatile and can adapt to New Market trends new customer behaviour very easily
We are in a very volatile position at the time of this interview with the COVID-19 global pandemic. Can you share any survival tips for businesses?
From all of us at MoneeMint, our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It has without doubt been the most challenging time for all of us. Let us also take the opportunity to thank the frontline staff that have been at the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic.
For businesses, now is the time to think about the strategy that they have in place. This will need to be quickly adapted in order to stay competitive in the market.
Staff are the most important asset for any business, while the business is suffering it is important to ensure your staff morale is high, businesses are continuously motivating their employees and checking up on them on a regular basis. This really makes a huge impact on staff productivity and staff retention.
Innovation! Now is the real time to really think about how we can innovate and what is the opportunity in the market. Creating new product lines and new revenue streams can really affect the cash flow of the business and increase the risk of survival.
During the global pandemic, MoneeMint has been very fortunate as we have not had disruption to our business operating model due to the systems we have had. We have also been at an advantage where we got the best brains in the industry to join MoneeMint and this has really helped us accelerate our business development and come up with some really good products for the market.
And finally, what do you see as the future of fintech?
The fintech industry has grown rapidly globally. With new innovations, opportunities and talent it has really created a buzz in the market. We can see from the recent developments in the African and Asian regions in particular where the unbanked population is very high and the governments are really stepping in to solve this issue. I think the biggest development we will see in the industry is the evolving from competing with big market players to collaborating with them. We are also yet to see a merger happen in the market with a neobank being acquired by a big bank and this will be an interesting time for the industry,
We at MoneeMint cannot wait to see what the industry holds for us.
Finally, we are excited to launch our waitlist so why not join our waitlist and be the first to know when we launch our shiny new product.