Business 16/09/2021

New Catalan bank 11Onze will start operating on October 1

The bank will work with a European license and at first have a maximum of 5,000 customers

2 min
James Sène is the entrepreneur behind the birth of 11Once.

The new Catalan bank 11Onze will start operating on October 1. The entity, which will receive deposits and issue debit cards, will open its doors from that day to the first 5,000 people who want to become their customers, as explained in a statement. People who do not make it in this first batch will be registered on a waiting list and "we do not know how soon they will be joining us," according to a spokesman for the new Catalan fintech. Originally, entry is being offered to people who are registered in La Plaça, a social network where the company's customers interact.

The company had intended to launch before the summer but has finally opted to wait until the autumn. The new entity will operate using British company Weavr's permits, which has a banking license from a Eurozone country that it does not wish to disclose. 11Onze is unable to say whether the company will benefit from the deposit guarantee fund (which secures up to €100,000 for each current account in the Eurozone), but says Weavr is insured "by law" for its customers' funds. "If 11Onze were to fail, the money is insured," these sources reiterate.

The company also collaborates with Episode Six, another fintech from Texas that offers a payment platform and has among its shareholders HSBC bank and Mastercard. The bank's president, James Sène, an entrepreneur of Senegalese origin, explains that one of its services will be to offer a "wallet of wallets" so customers can see from this platform the money they have in other financial institutions.

Origins

Sène has been living in Catalonia for three decades and has been preparing this project for a year. As he explains, he has set up companies in every continent except Oceania. To create 11Onze, he has set up a complex corporate structure that, as the company admits, is designed to make it difficult to know who is behind it. This structure has a foundation in Switzerland "for strategic reasons", but the organisation's statement says "all its money will be invested in Catalonia", Sène claims on the company's website. "We just have to decide in which sectors" this money will be invested. According to Sène, if the money is invested "strategically", 11Onze will control "40% of Catalonia's GDP". The general manager of the bank will be Natàlia Cugueró-Escofet.

The company has completed two securities offerings and is now closing its third and largest, worth €7m. The bank takes it for granted that it will need to do more to finance its growth.

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