When Magnus Larsson came to the US some 20 years ago, he discovered how difficult it was for immigrants to open a bank account, let alone navigate the US financial system. Finally, in 2019, he was a co-founder MAJORITYa neobank that should make it easier for newcomers to access mobile banking services.
Central to MAJORITY’s services are “meetups,” spaces in areas with large immigrant populations that MAJORITY targets. There they can personally meet advisors who are often also from those countries and can help them understand the nuances of life in the US. They can also attend workshops and other events with compatriots.
To that end, Larsson just announced the opening of a new meeting space — its fifth — in Laredo, Texas, to better provide financial services and other assistance to migrants crossing the border into Mexico. Located in a visible spot: “It will be the first thing you see when you cross the border,” says Larsson.
A meetup for people without a bank account
To date, the Laredo location has hired a dozen consultants. They help with everything from getting a driver’s license to signing up for a credit card. “We are thinking about the whole migrant journey,” says Larsson. That’s especially important for many Mexican immigrants, who may not have a bank account in their home country. According to Larsson, Mexico ranks sixth in the world for countries with the fewest banks.
MAJORITY opened its first meetings in Houston in 2020, focusing on tailored services for Nigerian immigrants, and in Miami in 2021, for arrivals from Cuba. (It also helps Colombians and Venezuelans). Now there are also meeting spaces in Hialeah and Orlando. (All meetings are open to immigrants from any country). Total number of advisors: about 250.
Later this year, MAJORITY will release a financial handbook for Mexican immigrants, a version of it Handbook for migrants, which will focus on the nuanced needs and concerns of Mexican immigrants. To that end, it includes tips on everything from budgeting, saving and investing to how to enroll kids in school.
For a monthly fee of $5.99, MAJORITY subscribers get mobile banking services, including a bank account with no overdraft fees or minimums, a Visa debit card, access to a network of ATMs, money transfer services, and international calling. Subscribers must have government-issued ID and proof of a US address.
Financing for expansion
In 2015, Larsson became CEO of Swedish technology company Rebtel, which enables people to make international calls at a low cost. (He is now the chairman of the board). The initial funding for MAJORITY came from the founders of Rebtel and from venture capital investments.
MAJORITY also recently announced $9.75 million in funding from valar companies And Heartcore capital. The new funding complements the Series B round of MAJORITY led by Valar Ventures raised last September. Total Raised: Over $86 million in equity. The latest funding should help Larsson expand its services elsewhere along the Texas-Mexico border.