LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Btech Consortium announces the launch of a strategic technology partnership between U.S. community banks, Elizabeth Park Capital Management, and Strandview Capital. The mission of the Btech Consortium is to empower community banks to compete more effectively with larger money-center banks, decrease their constraints due to legacy technology, and serve their local communities better.
The bank members pool their capital and resources, and the Consortium invests in emerging technology companies that serve the community banking sector. As members of the Consortium, banks can gain deep insights into emerging fintech trends, develop better IT strategic roadmap decisions, and vet fintech vendors more efficiently. Emerging technology companies benefit by receiving strategic capital and potential new bank customers from the Consortium.
“We are pleased to join the Btech Consortium,” stated Irene Oh, CFO of East West Bank. “We expect the consortium to provide us curated knowledge of financial technology solutions geared toward solving our most high-priority initiatives to enhance our customer user experience, strengthen risk management and improve efficiency.”
A vital element of the Btech Consortium is the Consortium HUB, a proprietary, member-only information exchange. Through the HUB, bank members can access the following:
– Important trends in bank technology
– Emerging fintech companies
– Fintech sector overviews
– Fintech product demos
– Investments pipeline
– Co-investment opportunities
– Best practices among bank members
Notably, the HUB includes a dedicated HUB Manager to optimize the strategic value of the information HUB to bank members and encourage collaboration among banks.
“The tech-forward community banks who have joined the Btech Consortium are taking a leadership role in advancing technology for the entire community bank industry,” says Fred Cummings, Elizabeth Park founder, and President. “Community banks play a vital role in maintaining thriving local communities. We increasingly see technology as a key differentiator that allows banks to serve their customers better, generate new sources of revenue, and operate more efficiently. Our deep knowledge of the community bank industry and Strandview Capital’s decades of expertise with fintech investments provide a unique opportunity for our bank members.”
Bank technology has experienced rapid innovation in the past decade, allowing banks to integrate new technology solutions while migrating legacy technology to the cloud. However, banks have become inundated with offerings from fintech vendors and seek more efficient ways to navigate the rapidly changing bank technology landscape. The Btech Consortium brings community banks together to help address this challenge.
“Customers Bank has been at the forefront of banking technology for nearly a decade. The Btech Consortium helps to solve the buy vs build dilemma faced by mid-sized and community banks giving us access to an array of fresh, cutting-edge solutions that can be adapted to the needs of Consortium members,” said Sam Sidhu, CEO of Customers Bank.
The Btech Consortium will focus on investing in technology companies that address the specific needs of banks in the consortium. The areas of interest include business payments, cyber security, commercial loan origination and servicing, regulatory compliance, API integration to core systems, robotic process automation, credit analytics, document management, and commercial deposit gathering.
“Bank consortiums are not a new concept,” says Mike Sekits, Co-Founder at Strandview Capital. “The money-center banks have been forming technology consortiums for decades, such as VISA, MECA Software, and Zelle. The term ‘fintech’ has become fashionable and shiny objects like blockchain, and unprofitable consumer banking models, get a lot of attention. Although we monitor blockchain closely, the Consortium is focused on a practical, near-term approach to help banks achieve a digital native, API-driven, mobile-first banking environment. The Consortium approaches fintech investing in a pragmatic and highly collaborative manner based on decades of investment experience in financial technology.”
Community banks have significant competitive advantages, and new, proven technologies already used in other industries can further those advantages if the banks work together. The Btech Consortium facilitates collaboration and helps level the playing field for community banks.
“Several large and tech-forward community banks have joined as founding members of the Btech Consortium, and we have strong interest from others,” adds Fred Cummings. “We also have smaller tech-forward bank members with less legacy technology, making it potentially easier to transition to cloud-native platforms. We welcome banks interested in the Consortium to contact us about joining.”
For banks interested in joining the consortium, please contact [email protected].
For more information about the Btech Consortium, visit https://www.btechconsortium.com.
About the Btech Consortium
The Btech Consortium is a partnership between community banks, Elizabeth Park Capital Management, and Strandview Capital. The Consortium’s mission is to empower community banks to serve their local communities better, compete more effectively with larger money center banks, and be less constrained by legacy technology. The Btech Consortium invests in emerging technology companies that empower community banks and accelerate their technology initiatives. As members of the Consortium, banks can gain deep insights into emerging fintech trends, develop better IT strategic roadmap decisions, and vet fintech vendors more efficiently.
About East West Bank
East West Bancorp, Inc. is a public company with total assets of $62.6 billion and is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “EWBC”. The Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, East West Bank, is the largest independent bank headquartered in Southern California, operating over 120 locations in the United States and in China. The Company’s markets in the United States include California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Texas and Washington. In China, East West’s presence includes full-service branches in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shantou and Shenzhen, and representative offices in Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, and Xiamen. For more information on East West, visit the Company’s website at www.eastwestbank.com.
About Customers Bancorp, Inc.
Customers Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE:CUBI) is one of the nation’s top-performing banking companies with over $20 billion in assets, making it one of the 100 largest bank holding companies in the US. Through its primary subsidiary, Customers Bank, commercial and consumer clients benefit from a full suite of technology-enabled tailored product experience delivered by best-in-class customer service. A pioneer in Banking-as-a-Service and digital banking products, Customers Bank is one of the very few banks that provides a blockchain-based 24/7/365 digital payment solution. In addition to traditional lines such as C&I lending, commercial real estate lending, and multi-family lending, Customers Bank also provides a number of national corporate banking services for Lender Finance, Fund Finance, Financial Institutions, Technology and Venture, and Healthcare clients. Major accolades include:
#3 top-performing bank with over $10 billion in assets at year-end 2021 per S&P Global S&P Global Market Intelligence,
#6 in top-performing banks with assets between $10 billion and 50 billion in 2021 per American Banker, and
#21 out of the 100 largest publicly traded banks in 2022 per Forbes.
A member of the Federal Reserve System with deposits insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Customers Bank is an equal opportunity lender. Learn more: www.customersbank.com.
About Elizabeth Park Capital
Elizabeth Park Capital Management is a U.S. bank and thrift institutional alternative asset manager founded in 2008 by Fred Cummings. The firm has extensive experience managing hedged, long-only and thematic portfolios. The six-person investment team has over 130 years of combined experience. The firm employs a fundamental, bottom-up investment process focused on micro, small and mid-capitalization banks.
About Strandview Capital
Strandview Capital is a venture capital firm that provides strategic growth capital to private companies in the financial technology and services sector. Strandview has decades of experience advising and investing in financial technology companies. Strandview Capital employs a collegial, hands-on approach to building companies and collaborates closely with management teams to accelerate growth, establish distribution partnerships, increase revenue, and achieve profitability.