Community banks form fintech alliance

A dozen community and regional banks have joined to collaborate on developing fintech solutions, forming Alliance Alloy Labs.

The group, which will be managed by consulting firm FinTech Forge, is in early stages. Membership spans the US, representing institutions ranging from $251 million to nearly $20 billion in assets.

Jill Castilla

“There’s a mistaken perception that smaller banks aren’t as innovative as the largest players”, said Jill Castilla, CEO of Citizens of Edmond, Okla. “We absolutely are, but need to take a different approach to maximize the impact.”

Alliance will be a platform for banks to identify shared areas of opportunity and establish smaller workgroups to share best practices through implementation. It will work with fintech startups on both front-facing and internal applications.

“We started our customer-facing fintech initiative a little over 4 years ago hoping that maybe it might turn into something.  Today, we work with some of the best fintech companies in the world,” said Mike McCrary who leads the fintech initiative for Lincoln Savings Bank, Cedar Falls, Iowa.

The alliance will also welcome banks not yet ready to tackle innovation on their own, inviting them to learn from other members, share in ongoing research, and shape the direction of the consortium.

Other founders include First National Bank of Omaha, Inland Bank & Trust, Oak Brook, Ill.; Mercantile Bank of Michigan, Grand Rapids; nbkc Bank, Kansas City, Missouri; and QCR Holdings, Moline, Ill.; Citizens & Northern Bank, Wellsboro, Pa.; Columbia Bank, Tacoma, Wash.; Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Company,Metairie, La.; Reading Cooperative Bank, Reading, Mass.; and CenterState Bank, Winter Haven, Fla.

“We work with banks at all stages of their evolution,” said Jason Henrichs, founding and managing director at FinTech Forge. “Some are just creating their internal capacity, while others are leaders looking to extend the impact of their efforts with the network effect of working with others.”

Crowe LLP, a public accounting, consulting and technology firm, will provide advice and services regarding regulatory and compliance matters.