Jiko, a fintech startup that uses customer deposits to purchase short-term treasury bills, announced its first banking-as-a-service (BaaS) client on Wednesday, November 17. It will partner with Euphoria, a technology suite for the transgender community that helps reduce the struggles linked with gender transition, to launch a banking app called Bliss.
Between 2-6 million persons in the USA identify as transgender, and 34 per cent lack identification to match their gender, making it tough for them to access banking products, the company said in its press release, according to an international publication.
Most banks' compliance processes do not accommodate people in this situation, but Jiko worked with Euphoria to customise the "know your customer" process for Bliss to allow users to open accounts with alternative forms of verification.
"Official identification presents a huge challenge for transgender community," Euphoria founder and CEO Robbi Katherine Anthony said.
"It takes time and resources. In several cases, the right laws to update your legal documents. Suppose you are in the process of updating your documents. In that case, that creates the opportunity for mismatches to be scrutinised by banks, and that could result in a person unable to open an account," Anthony said.
He added that Euphoria got connected to Jiko through one of its investors, friends with Jiko co-founder Rocky Motwani. From the initial conversation, a partnership emerged.
Launch Within Few Months
Euphoria estimates that aligning with a traditional bank to create a platform for its community would have taken 12-18 months of implementation. In contrast, Jiko was able to help them launch Bliss in just a few months, the press release said.
The initiative aligns with Jiko's intended pivot away from consumer services and toward B2B offerings. It charges partners a monthly fee for each account, which holds customer funds in government-backed treasury bills, allowing its account holders to spend them in real time through debit transactions.
"The idea behind Jiko's construct is to provide for one of the safest risk levels, with full spend capability, at the best rate. The instrument that provides the risk-return level is the treasury bill," Jiko CEO and co-founder Stephane Lintner said.
While Euphoria is Jiko's first BaaS client, Lintner said that Jiko has a powerful pipeline. According to Lintner, the company is in conversations with remittance platforms in the Latino community and has seen growing demand from corporations and crypto companies that want to store cash.
"The best thing about our core product is that it's the same for every person. Neobanks, community and lifestyle apps need mostly card issuance and retail accounts. But an extensive corporate treasury platform with Fortune 500 companies would use the same API to open accounts for its corporate clients and help them store their daily liquidity," Lintner said.