When Magnus Larsson came to the U.S. around 20 years ago, he learned just how hard it was for immigrants to open a bank account, much less navigate the U.S. financial system. Eventually, in 2019, he co-founded MAJORITY, a neobank aimed at making it easier for new arrivals to get access to mobile banking services.
Central to MAJORITY’s services are “meetups”, spaces in areas with large immigrant populations that MAJORITY targets. There they can meet in-person with advisors who often are also originally from those countries and can help them understand the nuances of life in the U.S. They can also attend workshops and other events with compatriots.
To that end, Larsson just announced the opening of a new meetup space—its fifth —in Laredo, Tex., the better to provide financial services and other aid for migrants crossing the border from Mexico. Situated in a visible spot, “It will be the first thing you see when you pass the border,” says Larsson.
A Meetup for the Unbanked
So far, the Laredo location has hired about ten advisors. They will help with everything from how to get a drivers license to signing up for a credit card. “We think about the whole migrant journey,” says Larsson. That’s particularly important for many Mexican immigrants, who may lack a bank account in their own country. Mexico is ranked number six in the world of the least banked countries, according to Larsson.
MAJORITY opened its first meetups in 2020 in Houston, focused on services tailored for Nigerian immigrants, and in 2021 in Miami, for arrivals from Cuba. (It also helps Columbians and Venezuelans). Now, there also are meetup spaces in Hialeah and Orlando. (All the meetups 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 its Migrant Handbook, that will focus on the nuanced needs and concerns of Mexican immigrants. To that end, it will include tips on everything from how to budget, save and invest to how to enroll kids in school.
For a $5 .99 monthly fee, 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, remittance services and international calling. Subscribers need to have a government-issued ID and a proof of a U.S. address.
Funding for Expansion
In 2015, Larsson became CEO of Swedish technology firm Rebtel, which allows people to make international phone calls at a low-cost. (He’s now the board chairperson). The initial funding for MAJORITY came from Rebtel’s founders and venture capital investment.
MAJORITY also recently announced $9.75 million in funding from Valar Ventures and Heartcore Capital. The new funding serves as a top up to MAJORITY’s Series B round led by Valar Ventures raised in September last year. Total raised: over $86 million in equity. The latest funding should help Larsson expand his services elsewhere along the Texas-Mexico border.