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Btech Consortium Launches to Advance Community Bank Technology

Btech Consortium Launches to Advance Community Bank Technology

Consortium’s mission is to empower community banks and the local communities they serve

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.

“We are pleased to join the Btech Consortium”

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.”

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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.

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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.”

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