FinTech Female Fridays: Meet Chair, CEO & Founder of BM Technologies, Inc. (BMTX), Luvleen Sidhu
"Tough times don’t last, tough people do." Luvleen's dad always says that to her, and she has been encouraged by that. "In the face of challenges, keep pushing forward, remember your vision and goal of what you’re trying to create", Luvleen adds.
Luvleen Sidhu, CEO & Founder of BM Technologies, Inc. (BMTX). Luvleen founded BM Technologies in 2015 and it is now among the largest digital banking platforms and Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) providers in the country, providing access to checking and savings accounts, personal loans, credit cards, and financial wellness. BaaS enables brands to be able to embed financial services in their existing ecosystems to help attract, engage, and retain customers. BMTX is focused on technology, innovation, easy-to-use products, and education with the mission to financially empower millions of Americans by providing a more affordable, transparent, and consumer-friendly banking experience.
Luvleen truly believes that BMTX is a leader in fintech and that BMTX was very early in embracing the BaaS model, which is now much more mainstream. When she first started BMTX, the company had a B2C model. "Early on, we were not growing at the exponential rate that I was hoping to be at, and therefore not having as big of an impact. After many internal strategy sessions and discussions, we pivoted to our current BaaS model." Since then the company has had tremendous success and is now a publicly traded fintech. Luvleen is proud of this decision to pivot and considers it the best work decision she ever made.
Since launching BMTX, Luvleen has held a variety of positions focused on strategy and growth. Her key roles include developing a strategic vision for BMTX, overseeing its BaaS platform, product development, and marketing activities geared towards acquiring, engaging, and retaining customers. "I coordinate with compliance, risk, strategic partners, technology teams, lenders, customer relations teams, and teams focused on social media, digital marketing, and PR. I have P&L responsibilities for the entire business. Additionally, I lead all board meetings as Chair of the Board, presenting my vision for the company and working with the board to execute on this vision. I also develop the company’s culture and represent BMTX in the press and through speaking engagements."
The primary projects/goals Luvleen is working on at BMTX for 2022 include:
Becoming a Fintech Bank
Expanding the BaaS business vertical
Transforming and Growing BMTX's Higher Education business vertical
Ensuring the firm's culture is strong and people feel empowered and celebrated
Luvleen describes BMTX’s culture as collaborative, friendly, entrepreneurial, and one that fosters innovation. "As the founder of BMTX, I contribute directly to this environment and have helped to cultivate it through the past seven plus years. I believe that each employee has an important voice to share and I want everyone to feel that they can openly share their ideas. We are also passionate about ensuring we have a culture that is focused on fun while making an impact, because we believe in enjoying what you do for a living, and have employee-related activities throughout the year. I believe in work-life balance and lead by example, ensuring I am focused and dedicated at work, and also taking the time I need to be with family and friends, as well as time to rest, travel and recharge."
As a woman in a male-dominated industry, Luvleen is actively focused on helping propel women in finance – such as promoting women in leadership roles, creating mentorship opportunities, providing equal pay, and ensuring female voices are represented at the executive leadership level. "I am also a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and passionate about mentoring women and empowering entrepreneurs to bring new fintech technologies to market. "
More on Luvleen
Where you currently live: Florida
Favorite hobby: Meditation
Favorite part of your day: Daily walks in nature
Favorite show to binge: The Morning Show
Media Recommendation: Podcast: “Dear Gabby” by Gabby Bernstein. I also love her book, “The Universe Has your Back.” Gabby inspires me through both the podcast and the book to overcome fear and give up control, in order to live a happier, more balanced life.
Monday – Friday
6:00 am: I do light meditation and exercise, which helps me start the day off right! Spirituality is a big part of my life. When it comes to meditation, I practice a single Buddhist chant – Nam Myoho Renge Kyo – which brings me an invigorating energy that really raises my vibration at the start of the day and has a trickle-down effect on the thoughts and actions that I take the remainder of the day. But sometimes I also need to take a step back and feel more peaceful and relaxed, which takes the form of a quiet meditation. I’m currently balancing the two, using both techniques to kick-start my days.
8:00 am: I make breakfast, grab a cappuccino (my favorite caffeinated beverage), and a big glass of water to set myself up before the day’s meetings start.
9:00 am: Meetings on my schedule typically start at this time (sometimes earlier depending on the week though). Through the course of a typical workday, I have a combination of strategic meetings with bigger groups, 1:1 meetings (both internal and external), interviews with media, accomplishing specific tasks, and moving projects forward in alignment with BMTX’s strategic priorities. I really try my best to avoid back-to-back meetings, so I can breathe and collect my thoughts between meetings.
12:00 pm: Time for lunch! I have a block on my calendar as a friendly reminder to myself to grab lunch, so I ensure I stayed fueled up to continue powering through the day.
1:00 pm: More meetings and working through strategic priorities.
5:00 pm: Every day except Friday, I have a 30-minute daily catch up my four most senior executives, a habit that started during the pandemic when we weren’t seeing each other as much. Now we’ve moved to a hybrid model, where people have the option to come in and work from the office and every four to six weeks, everyone meets in person for strategic sessions.
6:00 pm: This is when I strive to get outside each day and take a walk while it’s still light out. Being in nature is important for me—it’s my way of practicing another form of meditation, relaxation, and connection. I aim to wind down and disconnect between 6:00-7:00 pm because I find it so important to make space for a personal life and general wellbeing each day, but it’s tricky sometimes to take my mind off the business.
7:00 pm & Beyond: Dinner, time with family, and catching up on any remaining emails from the day.
Saturday – Sunday
6:00 am: Even on the weekend, I do light meditation and exercise to start the day off right!
8:00 am: Cooking breakfast and making a cappuccino with my husband, or finding a local breakfast spot to dine at.
11:00 am: If the weather is nice, I always try to weave in some sort of outside activity with my husband, family, or friends.
6:00 pm: Dinner with my husband and/or family—either cooking together or dining out somewhere together.