Insha: A neobank grounded in ethical responsibility
Yakup Sezer is the CEO of insha & insha ventures. He spoke with Efma’s Boris Plantier about what sets his bank apart from others: the principles and morals that drive the bank’s design and products.
insha is a German neobank that is designed for the significant Turkish population in the country. But their ambitions are far greater than one group of people in one country. As you will see in Mr. Sezer’s responses, this is a neobank built from the ground up with purpose and a desire to deliver financial services that are truly relevant to peoples’ lives.
What led to the creation of insha?
Previously, I had worked as Head of Business Excellence and Innovation at Albaraka Turk. insha was founded in Albaraka’s startup acceleration center, our own innovation unit, with full backing from Albaraka. We have developed fintechs there like point-of-sale fintech alneo, payment infrastructure Nakitbasit, and several other fintechs. insha is one of them and the only one that serves Europe.
Our aim is to move our in-house fintechs to Europe. I think it’s important to note that Albaraka was founded in 1985 as Turkey’s very first participation bank. We think it’s only natural for us to now be the first player to offer digital, principled banking to European audiences. Even though there is a large potential customer group in Europe looking for ethical and principle-based financial products, there are few basic, ethical, and sustainable digital solutions on the market. So, we decided to broaden our services to the European continent.
Could you present insha’s offer?
insha is the mobile banking service that puts moral values first. With a range of innovative products integrated into our app, insha is for everyone who cares about what is done with their money. As a digital banking service based on strong moral principles, we offer tools that help customers achieve their saving goals, gain insights into spending behavior, transfer money abroad for little cost, and donate easily to charities of their choice. We offer ethical and principle-based fully digital financial solutions.
We are backed by a big banking group as well as a fintech ecosystem and benefit from their experiences. On top of that we have the agility and flexibility of a startup. First and foremost, we provide a digital account and our features are as convenient as you would expect from a digital banking. The difference is that to us, it is very important how a bank handles the money that their customer trusts them with. At this point you can consider us as a neobank with a surplus. The surplus is that we are compliant to ethical principles, which does not hinder anyone but is important for most. We don’t invest in immoral industries or participate in highly speculative trading for example. We want to do good in the world, and – based on the feedback we receive – our customers appreciate this a lot.
I already mentioned that we don’t participate in speculative trading – all our investments are backed by real assets. Let’s take the financial crisis of 2008 as an example. While the topic is certainly more complex, the complicated financial products, and the greed of a whole generation of speculative investors were the root cause of what caused this global crash. We believe that money can’t just generate more money out of thin air. Had that been the prevailing wisdom back then, the world would probably be in a better place now.
And of course, fostering wars through investments in arms manufacturers is one of the most unsustainable things you can do – so we just simply don’t invest in those companies. Our aim is to offer ethical and principled digital savings and investment tools. We have a sub account mechanism we call “inSave” where people can easily open different accounts in insha and can manage their money more effectively.
We have also built “inSight", a feature that easily allows you to manage and monitor your expenses via the insha app. We provide you with useful statistics to plan and manage your financials. Another product is “inShare,” insha's innovative donation tool. It takes only a few clicks to donate to charities, foundations, associations, and public institutions. Becoming a goodwill ambassador has never been easier. In addition to these tools, we developed “inLoyal” where we are continuously working on offers, discounts, and cash back on categories like retail, digital services, and gas stations.
What’s coming next for insha?
Our first target is to expand all around the European Union and launch new financial products and business accounts. We believe that business banking is crucial for us. Our customers are always asking us to develop it. We will launch business accounts in 2021. Expansion is also one of our critical jobs for 2021. We want to be active in new EU countries like France, Belgium, Netherland and Austria and the UK in the first phase.
From a product perspective, right now we are developing two different investment products. Firstly, our Gold product, where we allow customers to diversify their investment options. They can buy, store, sell, and even physically ship gold to any address they choose. Like all of our products, it is safe, secure, and insured.
The other product is something we call “inWin” an investment account where you lock your money for an agreed-upon period with an estimated rate of return. In this way, your-on-the-side money will work for you safely and securely. The account holder and our partner bank enter a partnership agreement where profit-loss are distributed between the two parties. The collected funds will be used in financing trade, industry, and service sectors in line with the principles of insha. Our customers who want to put their money into an ethical, profitable, and principle-based investment environment will be able to do so. Investing in projects linked to the real economy is one of our main principles, making us more robust and secure. We believe inWin is an excellent opportunity in terms of both the general economy and the account owner.