Jay Sidhu, chairman and CEO of Customers Bancorp, which owns the BankMobile app, said in the U.S. alone there are 68 million individuals who are unbanked or underbanked. Forty percent of millennials would consider banking without a branch, according to Accenture.
Meanwhile, 70 percent of the unbanked in Africa would have to spend their entire life savings to get to a branch.
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Banks' biggest mistake is still thinking of communities as geographic markets, Sidhu said. "I was walking today, and there were 20 bank branches in six blocks on Madison Avenue. That's $30 million in rent," Sidhu said. "Putting screens in branches ... Why, when we all have screens in our pockets? Citibank's 'bank of the future' in Union Square ... It was built in  and looks like a bank of the '60s to me," he said, adding, "Bank branches are mausoleums."
Since 2011, 700 million global consumers have begun banking on their phone. The U.S. bank branch model, which peaks at a total of roughly 95,000 branches, is now down to 86,000 branches. Sidhu expects that number to come down over the next three to five years, but there may still be as many as 75,000 bank branches because "the banks don't get it. Banks are like Kodak," he said.