“Anti-woke” bank GloriFi co-founded by black right-wing influencer Candace Owens is shutting down after failing to secure funding from investors, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The startup, based in Texas, has billed itself as a financial services alternative for conservatives.
Before the launch of the bank, Owens, who has over 3 million followers on Twitter, made bold predictions that GloriFi will overtake banks like the Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Chase among others to become America’s most preferred bank.
“We are at the beginning of the conservative economy. You guys will all be hearing about GLORIFI soon. It will overtake Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase & #Paypal very quickly,” Owens tweeted on October 8.
She followed her tweet with a video message on her Instagram page urging people to ditch their PayPal accounts and move their money to GloriFi. “I’m 1000 percent in. I moved my money, I made sure it worked, I’m using the card,” Owens said to her 4.5 million followers.
However, in less than three months since the bank went live, the Wall Street Journal reports that the company has laid off employees and informed them the end is nigh.
Chief Marketing Officer Cathy Landtrop in an email to staff cited “financial challenges related to startup mistakes, the failing economy, reputational attacks, and multiple negative stories,” as reasons for the downfall.
WSJ reports that the signs of trouble at GloriFi came up immediately after the app was launched in September as the bank nearly went bankrupt, despite having deep-pocketed investors like hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.
The troubles at the bank became more apparent when employees of the company told the WSJ that the company’s chief executive, Toby Neugebauer, drank on the job and had an explosive temper. Following the report in October, Neugebauer stepped down from CEO to serve as the company’s executive chairman.