Innovation, Podcasts

Radius Bank’s Chris Tremont on an innovation model for smaller banks

  • Radius Bank is a $1.3 billion bank with a digital offering.
  • It's found a way to innovate by partnering with fintechs.
close

Email a Friend

Radius Bank’s Chris Tremont on an innovation model for smaller banks

On the podcast, we’ve explored a lot of ways large banks, with assets and resources, have found ways to innovate. But smaller banks are innovating, too — they’re just doing it differently. Without in-house development teams, smaller financial institutions have to be scrappier to punch above their weight. One way they’re doing that is by partnering with fintech firms.

Over the past few years, Radius Bank has embarked on a process to upgrade the billion dollar+ bank’s digital consumer offering by working with top tech players. Chris Tremont, head of Radius’ virtual bank, joins me on the podcast to talk about how Radius leverages not just fintech offerings but how it found it could influence product development cycles by participating closely with earlier stage fintech firms.


SubscribeiTunes I SoundCloud I Spotify
The following excerpts were edited for clarity.

Small banks have to do more innovation with less resources. True or false?

Radius Bank is at about $1.3 billion in total assets with 170 employees across the U.S. The majority of us are based in our Boston headquarters. When our current CEO and president Mike Butler took over, he brought in a vision of where we were going on the consumer and retail side. Radius’ way forward would be through technology and user experience and not so much building out physical branches. The way of the future for us was digital.

We’ve decided that we need to partner with best of breed technology firms to get us where we need to get. We don’t have a development shop in-house. We made a strategic decision about three or four years ago to start partnering with vendors to help us expand our technology, and help us increase our acquisition, retention and deposit gathering efforts in a much faster way.

For years, we’ve believed that banks and fintechs can be friends. We focus on how we can improve our technology stack through fintech. We’ve started to do that by improving our digital onboarding, account and money management through online and mobile banking, as well as with other payment and card tools we’ve enhanced along the way.

Can you give an example of a partnership that’s enhanced your consumer offering?

This began in earnest about two years ago. We built a technology roadmap for 24 months. We took a look at the key drivers and forced ranked them by what would provide the biggest impact the quickest. At the top, we put digital onboarding as our number one initiative. Second, we talked about how to improve our debit card offering which all our customers use. Third, we knew that once we provided a great experience to open an account, we had to offer a great experience to manage your money. Behind all this, we needed to have the data infrastructure underneath.

For digital onboarding, for example, we had been opening accounts online since 2009. We knew the experience could be vastly improved. After a review process, we met Mantl and decided to partner with them to build our account opening platform from scratch. We got that process done in about 4.5 months and launched in August 2017. We saw submission rates go up, account conversion rates go up, and now a consumer can complete an application in under three minutes.

We were Mantl’s first client and are supportive of helping them work with other banks and credit unions to open accounts digitally.

You’re also partnering with fintechs as a sales channel. Can you explain?

We’ve taken our customer experience to the next level for our direct offering and we’ve used some of that technology to partner with fintechs that want to offer an FDIC-insured product. It’s a two-fold strategy for us — partnering with fintech to improve our own technology offering as well as a sales channel for us to grow clients and deposits by helping fintech companies get off the ground with a banking product for their clients.

We’re probably working through a list of 20-25 companies who want to work with us to offer a banking product. We’re not the biggest bank, so we have to be selective in who we work with. We’re fairly careful through this selection process, targeting 3 to 5 companies to work with this year. We are really excited about the opportunities — it really seems the market is ripe for these types of bank-fintech partnerships.

0 comments on “Radius Bank’s Chris Tremont on an innovation model for smaller banks”

The Green Finance Podcast

The Green Finance Podcast Ep. 6: The fight against financial discrimination with BetaBank founder Seke Ballard

  • Despite US laws aiming to protect against discriminatory lending practices, a disproportionate majority of those refused capital in traditional banks are historically underrepresented and underserved groups.
  • Our guest today is Seke Ballard, founder and CEO of BetaBank – a digitally native, Black-owned bank built for SMBs with a mission to provide fair, accessible, and cost-effective deposit and lending services to all.
Iulia Ciutina | August 05, 2022
Acquire Podcast, Modern Marketing, Podcasts

The Acquire Podcast Ep. 15: Lili is making taxes sexy, one IRS Cocktail at a time

  • Lili’s VP of creative marketing, Matthieu Silberstein, joins us on The Acquire Podcast.
  • Going for the perfect customers (instead of the many), the three year old banking app is going back to its roots of making taxes easier – while grounding their new brand book in today’s definition of business success.
Rebecca Cohen | August 04, 2022
Where Credit's Due Podcast

Where Credit’s Due Ep. 6: Digitizing commercial banking with Q2 and TD Bank

  • Banks are starting to digitize and upgrade their commercial and SMB infrastructure, and various companies are coming in with software products to help them bridge this gap.
  • Joining me today are Paul Margarites, Head of U.S. Commercial Digital Platforms at TD Bank and Kirk Coleman, Chief Banking Officer at Q2.
Iulia Ciutina | August 03, 2022
Payments, Power of Payments Podcast

Power of Payments Ep. 11: ‘There’s a lot of heart in our business when you really understand our customers’ – Remitly’s Matt Oppenheimer

  • Matt Oppenheimer, co-founder and CEO of Remitly, joins host Ismail Umar on this week’s podcast.
  • He talks about the evolution of the remittance industry over the last decade, the changing needs of Remitly's customers, the potential role of crypto in remittances, and the future of global money movement.
Ismail Umar | August 01, 2022
Data, Podcasts, Sponsored

‘Open finance can lift all boats while creating more efficient commerce’: Fiserv’s Sunil Sachdev

  • Open banking has evolved to open finance and with it, new and expanded use cases.
  • Fiserv's Sunil Sachdev, SVP and head of fintech at Fiserv, joins us on the podcast to discuss where the puck is headed.
Fiserv | July 27, 2022
More Articles