One of the lead stories in most newspapers today is that Standard Chartered is offloading 20Twenty.
This is my reflection on the 20Twenty story by way of a selection of paragraphs from those e-mails I have been sent by 20Twenty and then Standard Chartered.
I recieved this from Standard Chartered by mail last night:
Our preferred option would be to transfer it to a like-minded financial services provider. We understand that this may cause uncertainty, but we’re committed to minimising any possible inconvenience. We’ll update you on progress in mid November.
20Twenty was the brain-child of Christo Davel. I’m a 20Twenty client of old. When they first launched I signed up to see what the buzz and hype was all about. And it was right for there to have been buzz and hype. 20Twenty did something back then that was revolutionary from an Xer perspective…. they built a bank that spoke to us in a way we could understand and created a connection with us that felt like we were connected. We could reach a Wired Warrior 24/7, and they had cooler voice messages on their phone queue than Kulula could ever hope to have. They hooked us into a dream to make banking different. And to a large degree they did. I even saw 20Twenty bumper stickers on the cars of twenty year olds. Ever seen a bumper sticker from one of the big four banks on anyone’s car? Me neither….
We’re looking for the zany people.The brainy people, the idealists, the visionaries, the virtuous, the talented, the sunny side ups.The one’s who don’t believe in Murphy’s Law.Who look for the silver lining, gaze at the world upside down.The brave. The bold. We’re looking for the sharpest knives in the drawer.The Napoleons, the Joan of Arcs, the Charlie Chaplins.In a nutshell, we’re looking for people with 20twenty vision. And what you’ve just read is one of our recruitment ads. You’ll see them in the Sunday newspapers because right now, we’re looking for some Serious Talent to help drive 20twenty forward.
But then Sambou happened and finally Standard Chartered stepped in and used 20Twenty as a launch pad into SA:
This deal marks the beginning of a fantastic future and here’s why: Standard Chartered Bank is rock-solid. They have a global presence and a brilliant track record. For you, should you choose to re-activate your 20one account, this means safe deposits, safe credit, and a continued and happy relationship with MasterCard. But here’s the best part Standard Chartered has given 20twenty the liberty to continue to deliver the same innovative services that you look for in your bank. The same freedom, choice, flexibility. Same 20one account, 20one card, Wired Warriors and more. All in the familiar orange and black livery of the 20twenty brand.
The direction of 20Twenty became clear when Christo left:
If you haven’t seen the papers, or only heard the hearsay, we wanted you to have the news of our latest developments directly from us. As the press release issued by our banking partner and parent [Standard Chartered Bank] explained yesterday, Christo Davel – our much-loved, call-him-by-name 20twenty CEO – will be leaving us, with our immense gratitude for his contribution to changing the world of banking, and our very best wishes for his future.
It became clear because the language in the e-mails changed. They were written less by the voice of a ‘crazy one’ and more like the voice of the bank my mom and dad bank with. The Maveriks were leaving and the lawyer’s were arriving.
Chasing a dream to change an industry and making a profit don’t always go hand in hand. And that is the sad story of 20Twenty.
While home loans are now showing strong momentum, we have had to make some tough decisions to achieve our growth strategy in South Africa.