Peter Thiel funded it. Candace Owens promoted it. I had never heard of this GloriFi bank until it collapsed.
It’s whole deal was that it was “anti-woke,” whatever that means. Since it was run by a gang of rabid capitalists who didn’t know what “woke” means, that doesn’t matter. What it really was was an ideologically driven attempt to prove that conservative principles were profitable and practical. They weren’t.
As The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on GloriFi’s shuttering, puts it, the business was “anti-woke.” While GloriFi itself never publicly described itself as anti-woke, the company had no qualms about marketing itself as a service provider for right-wing America. In a July press release, the company described itself as “a pro-freedom, pro-America, pro-capitalism technology company . . . empowering members to put their money where their values are and preserve the Country they believe in.”
In other words, its foundation was built on far-right paranoia and their bizarre obsessions.
Pitching itself as a financial institution that allowed one to be “free to celebrate your love of God and country without fear of cancellation,” GloriFi’s marketing read more like a campaign ad than an enticing APR offer on a new credit card. Highlights from the “about us” page include: “OUR BILL OF RIGHTS IS NON-NEGOTIABLE” and “WE ARE ONE NATION UNDER GOD.”
In its short tenure GloriFi, managed to launch checking and savings accounts as well as credit cards, with plans to offer mortgages and insurance in a future that will no longer take place. Founder and CEO Toby Neugebauer pitched plans to offer gun owners discounts on home insurance, credit cards made of shell casing material, and assistance paying legal bills if customers shot someone in self-defense. Over the summer, GloriFi secured conservative commentator Candace Owens as a co-founder and spokesperson for the brand.
Guys. Guys. GUYS. I know this is news to you, but regular banks won’t cancel your account if you announce that you love god and America. That’s not a sound basis for differentiating yourself from the competition. In fact, it makes you look weird, and especially stuff like the special privileges for gun-owners and people who shoot other people was probably counter to profitability. Having a controversial freak like Candace Owens (what? Laura Loomer was unavailable?) as the face of your company didn’t project seriousness, either.
Predictably, it imploded.
But GloriFi was unable to translate ideological grandstanding into functional corporate management. Even before its public launch, the startup was plagued by reports of chaos amongst staff and financiers. GloriFi missed its planned launch date several times, at one point due to clashes with Texas financial regulators. Reports emerged of unpaid invoices and erratic behavior from Neugebauer, who had converted his home Dallas mansion into the company’s main office.
According to the Journal, the company was eventually forced to hire a law firm to investigate workplace issues, particularly around Neugebauer. In one memo reviewed by the Journal, GloriFi’s former Head of Human Resources Britt Amos described several employees at Neugebaur’s mansion telling him to “make sure I leave around six,” and explaining that “after 5 p.m. Toby starts drinking and things at the house deteriorate quickly.” Amos also described a meeting where a visibly drunk Neugebauer was “drinking Red Bull and putting alcohol in it.”
You know, being “woke” just means you’re aware of the social shortcomings of the existing system, and are concerned about fairness and equality. Declaring yourself “anti-woke” implies that you’re ignorant of reality and want a system that will screw people over, things I do not want in a financial institution.