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N26 sets ambitious growth goal after recent expansion

Germany-based digital-first bank N26 Bank GmbH intends to grow its user base to more than 50 million customers over the next decade, Georg Hauer, the bank's general manager, said at a conference Sept. 5.

Founded in 2013, N26 had 100,000 customers by 2016 when it received a European banking license. Since then, the bank has expanded across 26 countries and has more than 3.5 million customers. It aims to grow that number more than 14x in 10 years.

The bank's latest launch was in Switzerland, where it signed up 20,000 customers ahead of the official service launch Sept. 3. An account with N26 allows Swiss customers to bank across the eurozone with lower fees than other euro-denominated accounts, according to a statement.

Switzerland, in particular, has a lot of potential, said Hauer, who oversees N26's operations in the German-speaking DACH region. He expects the client base in the market to grow further as Swiss customers are open to new technologies, he added, speaking at the Handelsblatt Banking Summit.

Hauer expressed confidence in N26 Bank's ability to gain prominence in the U.S., where it launched in July. The bank will launch services in Brazil in 2020, Hauer said.

Since founding, N26 has raised about $683 million across seven funding rounds. At the last $170 million funding round in July — an expansion of the $300 million series D round from January — N26 was valued at $3.5 billion.

Asked whether the valuation is justified, Hauer said it is not the leading measure by which he assesses N26's performance. "Valuation is not an end in itself," he said. "At the end of the day, our goal is to keep our customers satisfied."

Hauer compared N26 services to Spotify, saying the company aims to make banking as easy, hassle-free and accessible to clients as the music streaming service.

N26 Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of N26 GmbH.