It has recently been announced that Daylight, a US-based neobank that exclusively caters to the LGBTQ+ community, will be closing down, with its last day of operation expected to be June 30. However, the bank has insisted that the reason for its closure has nothing to do with the banking crisis that has been felt around the globe, per FinTech Futures.
Daylight reportedly stated that they have not been able to pin down a business model that would allow them to offer banking services to the LGBTQ+ community, adding that “banking is a business that works well at scale, and as a small company we cannot identify a path toward profitability.”
However, Daylight’s looming closure comes after NY Magazine published a feature article on the bank, suggesting that it has taken part in discriminatory behavior, and that the CEO, Rob Curtis, had lied about the company’s data and finances, per the report.
Jen Wieczner, a features writer for NY Magazine, tweeted: “A few months ago I heard about a ‘mission-driven’ fintech startup called Daylight with a cult-like leader accused of discrimination and fraud. After talking to 15 employees, the story turned out to be so much stranger.”
According to the feature, there were three former employees who had filed lawsuits, suggesting that the company had been guilty of age and wage discrimination, retaliation against whistleblowers, and fraud.
The report notes that a former employee, Terrance Knox, who is black, alleged that he had made $85,000 less than his white co-workers. It also said that Curtis had “made up” the idea that the bank would process $500 million in transactions by the end of 2023.
However, Curtis said that the allegations had been fabricated, adding: “We disagree wholeheartedly with their negative characterization of our business, and Daylight is fully prepared to address these concerns in court.”
NY Magazine reported that Curtis had demonstrated awkward behavior, such as suggesting to his team that they “pretend we’re all white, cis, straight tech bros for a week,” adding that they should “at least allow ourselves the permission to celebrate in the way that they would.” Almost half of the staff identified as trans or nonbinary, according to the report.
A former department head who had been at a teambuilding function in Mexico said that the third day of the event was where it got awkward. “It’s like Handmaid’s Tale meets queer bank,” the former head said. He mentioned that Curtis had proposed a new vision for the bank, suggesting that it would become a queer “marketplace,” stretching beyond mere banking and moving toward “fertility and surrogacy services,” per the report.
Curtis had apparently been musing about this idea for months, once writing on Slack: “Let’s get all the gays donating sperm, and all the poor queer women being surrogates. There’s a lot of poor queer kids who could make some easy cash. Kinda creepy but who are we to judge?” He had also suggested a tagline for the company: “The bank that made me pregnant.”
Daylight has marketed itself as “a queer-owned and queer-run business aligned around a single mission: giving our members the financial tools and products they need to live their best lives. We designed Daylight around our unique needs for timelines, families, goals, and futures that work for us.”
The company also seemed to suggest that people only seek out services offered by those who sexually identify the same as them, saying that “when it comes to your well-being, you seek out LGBTQ+ doctors, therapists, mentors, and even bartenders – people who just get it. Daylight is that for your family planning journey.”
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