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Peter Trebelev, Head of Growth at Rizq: “The market is so saturated, that only niche propositions have the potential to survive.”

Rizq is a UK-based Islamic digital challenger bank and it is preparing for its launch this summer. The challenger bank aims to solve mainstream banking issues for Muslims in the West, which is in line with their values and lifestyle.

Established in late February, Rizq is both an app and a web-based digital challenger bank. Rizq is eyeing 500 to 1,500 people at its alpha launch, and the goal is to have at least 30,000 customers by the end of the year.

Peter Trebelev is the Head of Growth at Rizq, and he provided Everly.eu with some of his ideas in an exclusive interview.

One of our first questions led to how Rizq is going to cope with the COVID-19 aftermath.

Peter replied honestly: “The coronavirus caught us at difficult times because we were just about finishing the seed round. Although it is difficult, we are happy that we haven‘t launched yet. Fortunately, we don’t have too many outgoing costs. At the moment, it’s about planning ahead and getting the team together as we can delay the launch just a little bit.”

“And as with every economic downturn, there are going to be short-term losers – but the are going to be some long-term winners as well. Companies that are at the inception stage can actually do really well, and this has been seen in previous economic downturns,” he added.

Rizq is led by the CEO Akmal Saleem, founder of Islamic investment firm Maarij Wealth and former chief marketing officer and board member of creative agency Brand786 Global. There are three other co-founders of Rizq – Peter himself, Yerkebulan Razdykov, and Dennis Alec Nemerov.

“The founders and the wider team is made up of mostly Muslims themselves, and our idea was based around doing something positive for a community which is very underserved at the moment. Also, the market is currently so saturated, that only niche propositions have the potential to survive. Although calling Islamic finance “niche” is a stretch.”

Dennis Alec Nemerov is essentially in charge of the product. Yerkebulan Razdykov is in charge of cybersecurity and customer service” adds Peter. The platform will offer a current account, to begin with, and then launch a premium account at a later stage. It will also offer aspects including shared accounts, budget analysis, cashback features, and functionality developments such as an auto-donation function which allows users to give to charity.

On our question of how Rizq is going to approach new customers, Peter replied: “At this point, we really want to try a lot of things, to see which are going to work and then double down, triple down on those that have shown results. We plan to approach customers by means of digital platforms, and we are also launching a video that will explain our values and USPs.”

As a digital bank, Rizq does not count on having any branches whatsoever. As some branches that have been closed during the lockdown are likely to not be ever open again, we have asked Peter what is his opinion on “losing the human touch” in banking.

“Digitalisation has enabled people to do things in a different way, and we don’t necessarily need the human touch in every aspect of our lives,” says Peter.

“And the “older” challenger banks are doing quite a good job of getting their edge here. If you look at the service and how customers rate them, they are usually coming out on top. So the branches are not really the issue, and in fact, I’d never seen anyone be excited about visiting a branch – it is just a necessity. I believe it is more about delivering some emotion and establishing a connection between the bank and the customer – which can be done via chat, or phone. Banks have to be able to relate to the needs of the customer, and that can be done from distance as well.” Peter Trebelev, Head of Growth at Rizq concludes.

Jan Cerny
Jan is an innovation enthusiast and Fintech news reporter. He specializes in news distribution, social media, and content analysis.

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