Member Benefits: New fintech search tool

After launching the ICBA Fintech Strategy Roadmap last February, ICBA held the ThinkTECH showcase during ICBA Community Banking LIVE in Las Vegas.

The ICBA ThinkTECH Network, coming soon, will make searching for high-quality fintech solutions easier for ICBA members.

By Kevin Tweddle, ICBA

When ICBA president and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey took the reins in May, she made one thing clear. ICBA would stand on three pillars in relation to its mission of creating and promoting an environment where community banks flourish: advocacy, education and innovation.

ICBA had already been ramping up its commitment to community bank innovation, so this move made perfect sense. I was already hard at work as ICBA’s new chief innovation officer, exploring new ways to forge meaningful partnerships between community banks and fintechs. And 2018 was full of firsts on this front.

We started with innovation education. In February of last year, we launched the ICBA Fintech Strategy Roadmap to help community bankers understand their options in the fintech space and explore the best path for their bank.

Then, in March, we held the ThinkTECH showcase at ICBA Community Banking LIVE in Las Vegas, so community bankers could see firsthand examples of companies looking to partner with them. But that was just the start.

In October, we launched the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator in partnership with The Venture Center. This first-of-its-kind fintech accelerator, which is currently ramping up its “bootcamp” phase, is a way for community banks to directly engage and partner with early-stage fintech companies that are focused exclusively on community bank product development.

It’s so exciting to be at the ground floor on this project. We can watch the entrepreneurs as they work with community banks to find solutions that will help them grow revenue and efficiencies, which benefits what matters most: their customers and communities.

But we haven’t stopped there.

Early this year, ICBA will launch the ThinkTECH Network for all ICBA members. Powered by FinXTech Connect, the ThinkTECH Network will be a curated, first-of-its-kind directory of emerging financial technology companies that are strategically partnering with community banks to provide innovative solutions. The robust platform will allow community bankers to find relevant fintech companies and solutions through a database of comprehensive company profiles that include reviews, rankings and testimonials.

Think of it this way: The ICBA ThinkTECH Network will be a one-stop shop for community bankers looking for vetted, community bank-friendly fintech companies. And by providing community banks with a straightforward tool for uncovering new innovation partners, ICBA’s goal is to encourage more opportunities for community bank and fintech partnerships in 2019 and beyond.

Easy-to-use innovation

This product truly is the next step in the ICBA–community bank innovation story as we continue to provide the best solutions for community banks to thrive in an evolving financial technology ecosystem. It’s a calling I’m incredibly passionate about, and after nearly two years with ICBA, I can tell you I certainly am not alone in evangelizing the community bank innovation message. Our team here has been incredibly supportive in finding new ways to help community banks continue to innovate—with the goal of making it as easy as possible on you, the community bankers.

Peace of mind is a big part of that ease. Companies included in the ThinkTECH Network, powered by FinXTech Connect, will be identified as “bank-friendly,” with a proven history of financial performance and an existing roster of bank clients. This means community bankers can feel confident when identifying potential partners.

Choice is another plus point. The companies offer solutions including lending platforms, payment processing applications, security, data analytics and more.

I’m really looking forward to getting this product out to community bankers, so you can see firsthand both the scope and quality of companies that want to partner with our industry to help community banks flourish.

The first step is for you to try it out. If you have any feedback once the ICBA ThinkTECH Network is launched, I encourage you to reach out to me. I’m thrilled that this exciting product will be included in your ICBA membership. It’s just one more way that ICBA is there for you—supporting you and your community bank as you write your innovation story.

How the ICBA ThinkTECH Network will work

Here’s what you’ll find when you use the ICBA ThinkTECH Network:

  • A guided search function to allow community banks to easily find solutions
  • In-depth written profiles on every fintech company working with U.S. banks
  • Access to key technology leaders and contact information
  • Product features, pricing models and core processor capabilities
  • A sample client list and testimonials from financial institutions
  • A function to save company profiles for future reference

Kevin Tweddle (kevin.tweddle@icba.org) is chief operating officer of the ICBA Services Network

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