Right-wing banking startup may be close to bankruptcy

My, my, my.

Yet another (alleged) right-wing charlatan manages to sleaze money out of some MAGA leading lights in exchange for a failing project that sounds as if it never really had a coherent business plan to start with:

An A-list group of financial backers including Ken Griffin and Peter Thiel gave Toby Neugebauer tens of millions of dollars to build a new kind of bank—one aimed at people who see Wall Street as too liberal.

The potential customer base was huge, Mr. Neugebauer and his business partner, former Mike Pence chief of staff Nick Ayers, told the investors. Plumbers, electricians and police officers, the pitch went, are fed up with big banks that don’t share their values.

The startup, called GloriFi, initially aimed to launch with bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages and insurance, while touting what it called pro-America values such as capitalism, family, law enforcement and the freedom to “celebrate your love of God and country.”

Within months, the investors’ money was nearly gone, and GloriFi was on the verge of bankruptcy. It missed launch dates, blaming faulty technology and failures by vendors, and laid off dozens of employees. It stumbled with products; for instance, a plan to make a credit card out of the same material used for shell casings failed when the company realized the material could interfere with security chips and potentially be too thick for payment terminals, according to people familiar with the matter.

Some employees alleged that Mr. Neugebauer had a volatile temper and drank on the job, and the company’s unusual workspace—Mr. Neugebauer’s home—added distractions.

After months of disarray, Mr. Ayers, who didn’t have a managerial role, and some top investors unsuccessfully pushed for Mr. Neugebauer’s ouster as chief executive, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Neugebauer said no investors asked him to resign, saying he had “nothing but support.” Of the criticism of his alleged drinking, he said, “The attacks on what I do in my home after 5 p.m. are beneath” The Wall Street Journal.

“Our 84 co-founders and our great partners stick by our accomplishments,” Mr. Neugebauer said.

As the Wall Street Journal article goes on to note, it’s been pretty much a train wreck from start to finish.

My favorite part is the selling point that “the potential customer base was huge.”

I don’t think the MAGA world is all that big to start off with. They’re such loudmouths that they get a lot of attention and they suck up a lot of political oxygen. But I think the hardcore true believers stand at about 33% of the GOP faithful and it seems to be staying around that number.

But then you whittle those numbers down to potential customers who are willing to walk away from their established FDIC-insured brick-and-mortar bank just because the brick-and-mortar bank tries to be responsible in its banking practices?

I don’t think the MAGA world is populated by a bunch of financial geniuses, mind you.

I just don’t think that many of them will be willing to risk their life savings to send a message of Bank of America about investing in fossil fuels.

From the GloriFi home page.

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