Across the global economy, entire industries have been thrown into flux by the COVID-19 pandemic. From manufacturing to retail, businesses have seen their business models upended over the course of several months.
The banking industry is one of those affected industries, and has seen seismic shifts in how the industry functions. There have been new rules, new programs and more that bankers have had to implement – virtually on the fly – to keep pace with the new COVID-19 landscape.
Community banks have been particularly hard-hit, having fewer resources to navigate the challenges they face than larger banks. According to Venture Center Executive Director Wayne Miller, community banks have faced myriad challenges and are actively seeking solutions to help overcome these issues.
“Today, community banks are facing unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19. In addition to the staggering numbers of loan applications received, the process of servicing the loans is still in flux. Community banks are genuinely in uncharted waters with these loans. The next steps include reporting, calculating and monitoring while guidance is still evolving,” he said.
As an entrepreneur support organization, The Venture Center has developed a specialty in fintech companies, running both the FIS Fintech Accelerator and the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator. With its deep ties in the fintech ecosystem, it is well-positioned to lend a hand to community banks and partner on potential solutions.
Partnering with the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and the Alliance for Innovative Regulation (AIR), The Venture Center is hosting a virtual event aimed at community banks to highlight innovative approaches to COVID-19 challenges. During the virtual event, multiple fintechs will pitch their products or services to help banks solve the Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness process.
“All of the presenting fintechs can help community banks with the next step in the PPP loan process in areas including loan calculations, tracking, reporting, and loan forgiveness.
Fintech founders are visionaries,” Miller said. “They identify challenges, many times before they present themselves, and they work to find the best solution for those challenges. What we’ve seen since mid-March has been mind-blowing in terms of the fintech sector’s agility and ability to build solutions for the current landscape quickly.”
Each fintech will make a five-minute product demonstration and field questions for a panel of community bank executives. Currently, the fintechs have not been announced.
The panel of executives includes:
- Alliance for Innovative Regulation CEO and Co-founder Jo Ann Barefoot
- The Venture Center Executive Director Wayne Miller
- ICBA Chairman-elect Robert Fisher, president, CEO and chairman of Tioga State Bank
- ICBA Vice Chairman Brad Bolton, president, CEO and senior lender at Community Spirit Bank
ICBA Consolidated Holdings Chairman Jack Hartings, chairman of The Peoples Bank Co.
- ICBA Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer Charles Potts
As to the goal of the virtual showcase, Miller hopes for the banks and fintech to build partnership in order to develop the solutions that will enable them to work through their challenges. “We hope to see community banks and fintechs build partnerships based on the solutions in the 5/21 showcase, so our country’s small businesses not only stay afloat but also thrive. Community banks play a critical role in this effort, so we hope that bankers know what tools are available to them and see something that will be helpful,” he said.
A critical element of this virtual showcase will be innovation. According to a Venture Center release, the fintech were chosen for their “innovative offerings.” Miler noted that innovation is necessary to drive the change that will overcome COVID-19-imposed difficulties.
“Historically in times of crisis, innovation has driven the change needed to carry communities, families, businesses from chaos to the creation of new businesses, and new opportunities. Entrepreneurs are born problem solvers and solution seekers, and many creatively and performatively thrive in times like these,” he said. “A high performer with a blast of creative genius can build a company addressing any number of obstacles, and we all reap the rewards. Think about how our local restaurants changed their business model on a dime to provide to-go meals for people adapting to the pandemic in myriad ways. Or the online conferencing platform Zoom grew exponentially overnight, and somehow managed to accommodate an unfathomable number of new customers in what must have seemed like the blink of an eye.”
“These are the kinds of innovations that hold our economy together, and the types of changes that help us continue our day-to-day lives in the most productive way possible.In the long run, I’m confident we’ll see innovations that make it easier for us to bank, shop, socialize, work, and educate. Hopefully, we’ll also see that those innovations create new jobs and new opportunities for the friends and neighbors in our community.”
The virtual showcase will be held May 21, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
To register for the virtual event, visit https://bit.ly/ppptech.