By David Willey, Benzinga
OLB Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: OLB) is a diversified payment and omnicommerce technology services provider that provides the benefits of traditional banking to financially underrepresented communities. It is boosting its services to the underbanked through the acquisition of a controlling interest in Cuentas SDI LLC, a company that owns the platform of Black011.com along with a network serving over 31,000 convenience stores. OLB acquired an 80% share in the company and will offer its services, including the prepaid General Purpose Reloadable (GPR) program, to the stores and customers already on SDI’s network.
The company has appointed a new Vice President (VP) of Sales, Jeff Jorgge, to lead the expansion. Jorgge has over 15 years of experience leading similar projects with other major companies. His campaign will involve rebranding the SDI platform under the OLB Payment Platform and ECO payment system and offering OLB’s services to the 31,600 convenience stores currently part of SDI’s network.
The campaign will highlight the ability of members on the Black011 platform network to use one integrated Point-of-Sale (POS) system so their customers can purchase products and reload their phones from the same system.
Jorgge commented, “I have been involved in indirect channel distribution for the past 15 years in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area and am very excited about all the additional unique services that OLB will bring to the merchants on the SDI network. The OLB Group applications of in-store and on-mobile online App and will help to bridge the digital divide for the unbanked, underbanked, and underserviced population.”
OLB’s Current Focus – The First 1,000 Locations
OLB believes this controlling acquisition of SDI will increase its service to convenience stories and their customers. The company is starting its campaign by targeting 1,000 prime locations, including convenience stores and ‘bodegas,’ in the tri-state area. These locations often serve unbanked or underbanked households, which represent almost 18% of America’s more marginalized communities.
There are over 150,000 convenience stores in the U.S., and it is estimated that over 90% of Americans live within a short distance of one of these stores. However, these stores can struggle in the changing economic environment, and OLB’s acquisition will allow it to better serve this significant market.
OLB Group CEO Ronny Yakov commented on the acquisition, “We are excited to move forward with this exciting next step in our relationship with Cuentas. Our plan is to immediately focus on adding as many as 1,000 new stores to the network in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut area and then ramp up from that initial base.”
Expanding SDI Services
Cuentas Inc. (NASDAQ: CUEN), which used to own Cuentas SDI, still owns almost a 20% share of the company. It will continue helping SDI serve financially underrepresented communities and plans to add the network to its new Cuentas Mobile Wireless Service. It will also continue working with the leading global financial services company InComm, to add innovative digital solutions to the SDI network in aid of the underbanked.
OLB will be able to offer these locations numerous benefits, including access to OLB’s network of customers, wallets with instant credit and the ability to issue loans and other financial services.
The acquisition of the SDI network will also enhance OLB’s GPR program. GPR cards function like debit cards, except they are pre-paid and reloadable, and unlike debit cards, they are not connected to a bank. Integrating the SDI network with OLB’s financial services means owners of merchant locations will be able to reload funds to their accounts as well as use OLB’s electronic portal to offer customers instant access to digital products.
Other companies that offer services similar to OLB, including integrated fintech/payment, are large-cap names like Shopify, Inc. (NYSE: SHOP) and BigCommerce Holdings (NASDAQ: BIGC).
This initiative to expand into a very large underserved market could be a major contributor to OLB’s revenue and income growth going forward as the company executes on their roll out plan to the new market sector of bodegas and convenience stores.
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