Company Name

Business Development

Branches for Sale

Opportunistic buyers pounce on big banks’ castoffs.

By Wyatt Jenkins U.S. banks are closing hundreds of branches each year; between 2010 and 2016, the total number of branches declined by 7,864, a net decline of approximately 1,123 per year. Countless articles have covered changes sweeping the branch landscape, including mobile banking platforms and the choice of some branches to resemble a café more than a bank, with baristas, open floor plans, beanbags, flat screen TVs and iPads. (more…)

Focus on Relationships, Not Transactions

Too much time is spent on products and delivery systems.

By Don Musso and Stephen Brown Klinger

This article is the third of a four-part series on strategic planning adapted on FinPro’s 2016 State of the Industry speech titled “The Traditional Community Bank Model is Dead.”  The next and last topic in the series is “Use Complementary Fintech Systems to Create Competitive Advantages,” which is scheduled to publish in May 2017.


Blue Gate Bank: A rare de novo grows in Southern California.

Blue Gate Bank opened in January 2017 as the first de novo bank in California’s Orange County since the great recession. Based in Costa Mesa, it is one of just a few banks in the nation to receive FDIC approval for a new charter since 2009.


Priority One: Improving Customer Experience

Banking’s future is dependent upon meeting new expectations.

By Michael Scheibach


“Traditional banks see fintech startups and digital banks as threats to their business, and rightly so because these new entries into financial services tout an appealing, user-friendly customer experience, which can help successfully target groups like millennials.”


Partnering for Payments

Fintech payments solutions offer new challenge.

By Michael Scheibach

Generating revenue, improving product offerings, streamlining operations and better serving customers are among the top priorities for financial institutions in 2017. They also are the priorities for small businesses, especially retailers, who constantly look for ways to reduce costs, better serve their customers and increase revenues. Many retailers, in fact, are now part of the Merchants Payments Coalition — representing nearly 3 million stores — whose mission is to reduce credit card fees and create “a more transparent system that works better for consumers and merchants.”

Needless to say, banks must confront this changing payments landscape or risk losing their retail customers to fintech startups. In a report released last year, “Banks, Retailers and Fintech: Reimaging Payments Relationships,” the authors point out that fintech companies “sense an opportunity” in payments and are “muscling in” on banks’ traditional turf. “Banks cannot afford to be complacent,” reads the report. “Changes sweeping the industry suggest that there is a lot more disruption ahead, with potentially much more significant impact on banks.”

An even greater threat than payments processing, however, may be the weakening of the overall business relationship with a retail customer — an area of strength for banks. In other words, fintech payments solutions often have expanded capabilities that strengthen the fintech’s connection with its customers.

An example of a fintech company offering more than a simple payments solution is Fattmerchant (, a subscription-based merchant processing company. Its solution also includes one-time and recurring online payments, invoicing capabilities, a reporting dashboard with analytics, a mobile app, technical support, customized reports and more.

Although Fattmerchant has focused primarily on retailers, professional services and ecommerce companies, it also knows the importance of working with banks because of their longstanding small-business customer base. To do this, the company recently introduced a white-label Partner Program for banks and credit unions that is fully customizable according to the financial institution’s brand standards. A financial institution that becomes a partner has access to tools and resources for marketing, customer service, technical support and account management. Plus, the program allows institutions to analyze merchant processing savings for clients and helps clients switch processors, all while the institution earns money.

CEO Suneera Madhani emphasizes that one of the biggest benefits of the program for financial institutions is the ability to partner with a merchant services provider with no markups. Financial institutions have traditionally worked with standard processors cutting into their customers’ bottom lines, says Madhani. Now they are able to recommend a company that works for the mutual benefit of both the merchant and the institution.

“Customers of financial institutions enrolled in our Partner Program have access to a network of available resources and transparent pricing to help them succeed,” said Madhani. “The program provides updated technology such as a detailed analytics dashboard and tools, as well as a fully integrated virtual terminal. By using Fattmerchant, merchants are offered major savings through no markups and no contract. Merchants also have the added benefit of working with both their bank and the Fattmerchant team to find ways to save, essentially expanding their financial support system.”

Although the Partner Program is new, Madhani said the early response has been positive, with small to medium-sized financial institutions seeing the greatest return. One such institution is Axiom Bank in Orlando, Fla. According to Daniel Davis, president and CEO, the bank and Fattmerchant are working together to provide customers with affordable merchant processing, and to ensure that customers are improving their return each month and reducing unnecessary spending on exorbitant bills.

“Small-business owners are seeking convenience, clarity and trustworthy services,” said Davis, “and that’s what they’ll find with this partnership.”


 Michael Scheibach is executive editor of BankNews.



Paths to Prosperity

How three banks expand revenue streams: spanning borders, offering phone-charging stations, and focusing on intangibles.

By Susan Thomas Springer

What strategies kept banks successful in 2016? The paths to prosperity are as varied as the communities they serve. These three-high performing banks have stayed true to their roots while reaching new revenue streams by being innovative and harnessing technology.


Five Ways Traditional Banks Can Survive and Thrive in the Age of Algorithms

By Florian Douetteau

Today, the banking industry faces rising competition with tech giants such as Google and Apple entering the space as well as a slew of fintech startups and the growing prevalence of the Internet of Things — or, IoT. These challengers bring new, innovative products tailor-made for the connected and mobile world into which they were born. (more…)

Editorial: Community Banks Poised to Gain Disaffected Big Bank Customers

By Aaron Silva

If you were offered $1 million would you take it, even if there were some slight implications on maintaining such a fortune? This is essentially the situation that community bankers have found themselves in recently. Due to the Wells Fargo scandal that continues to cast a shadow over the banking industry, many Wells customers are opting to take their business elsewhere: community institutions.


Plan in the Future, Not the Past

By Don Musso and Stephen Brown Klinger

The article is the second of a four-part article series on strategic planning adapted from FinPro’s 2016 State of the Industry speech titled “The Traditional Community Bank Model is Dead.” The first article, “Focus on Customers, Not Products,” appeared in the October issue of BankNews. The next topic is “Focus on Relationships and Not Transactions,” which is scheduled to be published in February 2017.


FDIC, SBA Announce Training Update

November 28 – The FDIC and the Small Business Administration have announced several enhancements to Money Smart for Small Business, a resource that provides practical guidance for starting and managing a small business.


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