|Square’s bank arm launches as fintech aims ‘to operate more nimbly’|
Mary Ann Azevedo 19 hours
March 1, 2021
Known for its innovations in the payments sector, Square is now officially a bank.
Nearly one year after receiving conditional approval, Square said Monday afternoon that its industrial bank, Square Financial Services, has begun operations. Square Financial Services completed the charter approval process with the FDIC and Utah Department of Financial Institutions, meaning it’s ready for business.
The bank, which is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, will offer business loan and deposit products, starting with underwriting, and originating business loans for Square Capital’s existing lending product.
Historically, Square has been known for its card reader and point-of-sale payment system, used largely by small businesses — but it has also begun facilitating credit for the entrepreneurs and smalls businesses that have used its products in recent years.
Moving forward, Square said its bank will be the “primary provider of financing for Square sellers across the U.S.”
In a statement, Square CFO and executive chairman for Square Financial Services Amrita Ahuja said that bringing banking capability in house will allow the fintech to “operate more nimbly.”
Square Financial Services will continue to sell loans to third-party investors and limit balance sheet exposure. The company said it does not expect the bank to have a material impact on its consolidated balance sheet, total net revenue, gross profit or adjusted EBITDA in 2021.
Opening the bank “deepens Square’s unique ability to expand access to loans and banking tools to underserved populations,” the company said.
Lewis Goodwin had been tapped to serve as the bank’s CEO, and Brandon Soto its CFO. With today’s announcement, Square also announced the following new appointments:
Sharad Bhasker, Chief Risk Officer
Samantha Ku, Chief Operating Officer
Homam Maalouf, Chief Credit Officer
David Grodsky, Chief Compliance Officer
Jessica Jiang, Capital Markets and Investor Relations
The fast-growing company, which sells a credit card tailored for startups, with Emigrant Bank currently acting as the issuer, said that it had submitted an application with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Utah Department of Financial Institutions (UDFI) to establish Brex Bank.
A number of fintech companies, or those with fintech services, have spun up products typically offered by banks, including deposit and checking accounts as well as credit offerings. Often, these are designed to provide capital to customers who might not be able to get funding on favorable terms from traditional banking institutions, but who might qualify for business-building loans from a provider who knows their company, like Square, inside and out.