Member Exclusive, Podcasts

‘Don’t let any legacy tie you down’: How Piermont Bank blends humans and technology to service midmarket SMBs

  • Piermont Bank serves mid market SMBs with a hybrid blend of digital and human bankers.
  • CEO Wendy Cai-Lee joins us on the podcast to talk about building a bank that addresses SMB pain points.

Email a Friend

‘Don’t let any legacy tie you down’: How Piermont Bank blends humans and technology to service midmarket SMBs

While we use the term challenger bank to refer to many of today’s top competitors in digital banking, the truth is very few are actually chartered banks. They are a user experience layer on top of an incumbent bank’s infrastructure. Not Piermont Bank. 

Started in 2019, Piermont is a fully chartered commercial bank. It uses a combination of technology and human interaction to serve businesses founder and CEO Wendy Cai-Lee says still aren’t serviced. These are businesses with more complexity with accounts receivables and payables, with employees, looking for loans of $750,000 to $10 million — not the solopreneurs and microbusinesses supported by other challenger banks. 

Wendy Cai-Lee joins me on the podcast to talk about how Piermont uses its hybrid delivery model to serve this market. We also discuss Piermont’s strategy around providing direct to business commercial banking as well as a banking as a service platform targeting fintechs that want to bank a similar customer. Wendy Cai-Lee is my guest today on the Tearsheet Podcast.


SubscribeApple Podcasts I SoundCloud I Spotify I Google Podcasts The following excerpts were edited for clarity.
The importance of a charter Piermont started up back in 2019. We’re the first fully chartered hybrid commercial bank. In the last few years, there’ve been a couple of different descriptors around for so-called challenger banks. I think you have seen that the regulators have come out with some guidance in terms of who can refer to themselves as banks. That actually is the main reason why I decided to go with the chartering process, because at the end of the day, the FDIC insurance is really, really valuable.
Whether you are a neobank, challenger bank, regular commercial bank —  however you want to describe the various different types of banks that have surfaced — having FDIC insurance and the regulatory expertise behind it is critical to the institution’s ability to create new products, to really be more aligned and more reflective of all the changes in the marketplace, and be more relevant to the end customer.  [That’s true] whether it’s within the fintech ecosystem, or outside of it — the FDIC insurance allows the banking institution to be able to generate and keep a cost-effective funding source so that eventually we can get to a point where we can create real, meaningful lending products, right to the marketplace.
Because until you can have the entire spectrum of cash deposit management, payments solution and lending, you can’t really create that holistic suite of services that’s really needed in the marketplace — it doesn’t matter who you are, whether consumer, commercial, fintech or not.  So yeah, so FDIC insurance is important. 
Genesis story

This content is available exclusively to Tearsheet Outlier members.

Tearsheet Outlier information and signup Missing out? Subscribe today and you’ll receive unlimited access to all Tearsheet content, original research, exclusive webinars and events, member-only newsletters from Tearsheet editors and reporters and much more. Join Outlier now — only $49/mo. Already an Outlier member? Sign in to your account

0 comments on “‘Don’t let any legacy tie you down’: How Piermont Bank blends humans and technology to service midmarket SMBs”

Podcasts, The Green Finance Podcast

The Green Finance Podcast Ep. 3: Banks’ role and responsibility in the climate crisis with Chris Skinner

  • In this episode, we explore the role of banks in the climate crisis – big banks historically supported the global fossil fuel industry, but now they’re being pressured to change.
  • My guest today is Chris Skinner, a financial technology expert, global commentator, bestselling author of multiple books, and owner of the website The Finanser.
Iulia Ciutina | June 24, 2022
Where Credit's Due Podcast

Where Credit’s Due Ep.3: Looking at the future of lending as a service with Amount and Stilt

  • As banks and fintechs increasingly focus on the end customer, lending software companies are coming in to help them improve their underwriting services, giving rise to lending-as-a-service as a new market segment.
  • In this episode, we chat with Adam Hughes, who’s the CEO of Amount and Rohit Mittal, the chief executive of Stilt.
Iulia Ciutina | June 22, 2022

Tearsheet Podcast: Takeaways from this year’s Money 20/20 Europe

  • Taking place on June 9, Money 20/20 Europe is the largest European fintech conference of the year.
  • Tearsheet sent two reporters and this was what they had to say about the show.
Zachary Miller | June 21, 2022
Payments, Podcasts, What's Happening in Payments Podcast

What’s Happening in Payments Ep. 8: Klarna and the future of BNPL, PayZen’s ‘Care Now, Pay Later’, and Mastercard’s ‘Smile to Pay’ system

  • This week, we discuss whether BNPL offers a sustainable business model for providers, and whether it’s even viable as a standalone business.
  • We also talk about PayZen’s ‘Care Now, Pay Later’ offering, as well as Mastercard’s ‘Smile to Pay’ system, and what it tells us about the future of privacy and security in payments.
Ismail Umar | June 17, 2022
Acquire Podcast, Modern Marketing, Podcasts

The Acquire Podcast Ep. 11: Movement as marketing and transformation with StrawberryFrog’s Scott Goodson

  • StrawberryFrog’s founder and CEO Scott Goodson joins us on the Acquire Podcast.
  • We talk about doing marketing with soul and intention, the shifting pyramid of power where the boss is no longer God, and the power of truly taking on corporate responsibility.
Rebecca Cohen | June 14, 2022
More Articles