Powering Potential through Community Bank Innovation

May 02, 2024

Bankers are operating in a fast-paced world, with several solutions addressing customer growth and engagement. This technology can be a key driver to help them become more efficient, profitable, and competitive; however, these solutions can only be key differentiators if deployed strategically. This is why we place such an emphasis on what we’re solving for so we can properly assess how technology can be deployed for maximum benefit.

It is this mindset that drives our Innovation team’s efforts to create programming that will equip our bankers with the necessary resources to meet consumers’ evolving needs. Our award-winning ThinkTECH Accelerator is central to this initiative (see sidebar on our upcoming accelerator program) it is just one of many outlets deployed to help solve top-of-mind challenges for community bankers to ensure they meet the unique needs of our industry and customers.

Accelerator Alumni Spotlight

Through six iterations of the accelerator, we have embraced the value of continuous engagement, which led to the creation of the ThinkTECH Accelerator Alumni Showcase. This event offers a platform where past participants demonstrate how their solutions have enabled community banks to thrive. Bankers share their success stories, providing a real-world glimpse into the transformative potential of these partnerships.

The most recent showcase featured solutions solving many critical challenges such as automating processes, growing deposits and reducing organizational risk. Presenting companies showcasing solutions from past accelerators included:

In addition, Blake Rappenecker of Midwest Bank in Monmouth, Ill., and Brad Bolton of Community Spirit Bank in Red Bay, Ala. also participated, providing insights and commentary on their partnerships and the ensuing results reaped from deploying these technologies. In these fireside chats, Rappenecker and Bolton shared how the companies have evolved since first coming through the accelerator and most importantly, how working with well-vetted, relationship-first vendors, such as the ThinkTECH cohorts, have transformed their digital solutions.

Sign up for the Next Accelerator

Community bankers can register to participate in the seventh ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator program to meet with emerging fintech companies advancing community bank innovation. To ramp up for the latest program, take a look back at the past two cohorts and sign up for AP7 now.

“We’re a true, blue community bank, serving our community the best we possibly can. I’ve been at the bank for 28 years and have been involved with the ThinkTECH program since its inception,” said ICBA past chairman Brad Bolton. “Technology is the great equalizer and partnering with these companies, has been phenomenal.”

Banker accounts like Bolton’s underscore the importance of partnering with bank technology providers who prioritize strong, lasting relationships and are committed to evolving alongside their clients.

Emerging Players to Watch

Our proactive approach continues with ThinkTECH Connect, an event born from dialogue with our bankers. Here, we scout and introduce promising fintech solutions for future engagements. ICBA ThinkTECH Connect featured rapid-fire pitches from nine companies with a diverse selection of relevant, timely solutions as we explore not only what’s possible, but what has captured the imagination of our attending bankers. Our most recent event featured solutions from:

  • Boulder Money: Personalized guidance to build wealth.

  • PortX: Software that helps unlock core data through cost-effective API connectivity.

  • Rego Payments: White-labeled family digital wallet for community banks.

  • ScribeUp: Tool that helps people manage, control, and save money on their subscriptions.

  • Senso.Ai: AI-based knowledge base for banks.

  • Swoovy: Empowers employers and employees to volunteer more effectively.

  • Synapze: Helps simplify customer onboarding.

  • White Swan: Enables any community bank to provide and sell life insurance products.

Supported by industry leaders like Fiserv, TrueNorth, NContracts, and Wipfli, our innovation initiatives are continually refined to introduce solutions that are not only innovative but right-sized for community bank implementation.

ICBA innovation programming is a free benefit provided exclusively to member banks and designed to help banks remain at the forefront of banking transformation and lead in the adoption of technologies that will empower your bank to exceed customer expectations and solidify its market position. Visit icba.org/thinktech to learn more and join us as we innovate for impact.