Friday, June 25, 2021

AI-focused firm in Chicago applies to form a bank

A Chicago company that provides AI solutions for lenders is looking to form a digital-only bank.

Organizers of the proposed Beta Bank submitted an application on Monday with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for deposit insurance. 

The bank would operate as a subsidiary of Beta Financial Services, according to the application. Beta Financial plans to apply with the Federal Reserve to become a bank holding company.

Beta Bank would focus on small and midsize businesses, the application said. The bank, which will have no physical branches, will offer deposits and commercial products such as working capital lines of credit and Small Business Administration loans.

Many of the proposed bank’s founders have ties to Beta Financial. The organizers are Kelly Emery, Seke Ballard, Chad Thompson, Alan Harder, Alina Cowden and Justus Pugh, according to the application.

Emery would serve as the bank's CEO. Emery is the chief operating officer of the Financial Health Network, according to her LinkedIn profile. She also worked at the Chicago Fed for 16 years.

Ballard is Beta Financial’s CEO, according to his LinkedIn profile. Harder is Beta Financial’s business development director. Cowden is the company’s chief marketing officer, while Pugh is its sales and marketing manager. 

Beta Financial filed to trademark Beta Bank in May. The plan is to inject $20 million of initial capital into the bank.

Efforts to reach Emery and Ballard were not immediately successful.

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