Fintechs help local institutions compete in ever-crowded digital banking space

By Catherine Leffert  –  Staff Writer, Dallas Business Journal
Jul 19, 2021, 7:54pm EDT 

As the COVID-19 pandemic pressured financial institutions to hit the gas on advancing technological capabilities, smaller local banks enlisted third-party and financial technology companies to penetrate the digital market.

Local bank leaders said the relationship between traditional financial institutions and fintechs pushes their companies forward. Whether they advanced systems to sign documents, invest in cryptocurrency, expand deposit products, accelerate treasury management or strengthen general cybersecurity, local financial institutions partnered with a variety of fintechs to support their services.

Vista Bank President and CEO John Steinmetz said despite the need for external partnerships, he doesn’t see fintechs as a threat. He said the technology is creating new opportunities — Vista bank is utilizing fintechs for services like robot-assisted loan processing. He added fintechs can boost efficiencies, especially through the COVID-19 pandemic and the low-rate environment. 

“I see fintechs helping banks advance and move the ball,” Steinmetz said. “We’re very slow as an industry to change. I think fintechs are making community banks, and banking in general, a better industry for the consumer by pushing us forward.”

Steinmetz said Vista is transitioning to become more of a technology company that provides the commodities of loans and deposits.

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