By Riley Kaminer
Tech innovation has fundamentally reshaped the financial services industry. Bulge bracket banks continue to expand, while neobanks begin to siphon off a growing portion of their business.
Broward-based Locality Bank is making the case for a tech-forward local bank in 2022. President and CEO Keith Costello explained that regionally-focused banks such as Locality can play an important role in uplifting our entire community.
“A highly functioning local bank takes deposits, borrows money from people in the community, and then lends it out to other local businesses that need that money,” Costello told Refresh Miami. He explained that, alongside his highly experienced team which also includes industry veteran Drew Saito, Costello can accurately judge how much to lend to businesses to maximize impact.
In an era of big banking, Costello advocates for thinking locally. “We believe strongly in the power of local businesses to differentiate communities. They are the soul of our communities.” Banks like Locality play a central role in enabling this diversity and uniqueness.
Since opening its doors in January, Locality Bank has amassed more than $110 million in assets. Costello noted that the bank’s focus on technology has played a central role in enabling this growth.
“Having been in the business for 30 years, I saw that there was so much change and disruption occurring in the banking system,” he explained. “I knew that to serve our market efficiently and compete with the large banks, we needed to have technology that was at least as good – and we believe better than – what larger institutions offer.”
For COO and CTO Corey LeBlanc, this funding is a strong signal that the bank is on the right path. “It means that what we’re trying to do is being well received and understood,” he said. “It shows that people are willing to work with an organization that is new and doing things differently.”
Locality Bank has built their own digital infrastructure from the ground up, giving the bank an unusually high amount of flexibility in the products that they can deploy – and the competitive prices they can offer. The bank has received a state charter and has official FDIC approval. This stands in contrast to some startup banks, which leverage the technology and charter from a traditional bank.
Currently, Locality Bank has 21 employees. Since being founded, the bank has been based out of Fort Lauderdale coworking space General Provision. But in late October, the bank plans to open their new headquarters a mile down the street, on South Andrews Avenue. While the location will not be a branch per se, it will offer consumers some of the same functions, such as cashing a check.
Going forward, LeBlanc is excited to continue upgrading their systems and shipping new products based on their customers’ feedback. In 2023, LeBlanc expects to launch invoicing features, on top of tax and merchant services. For Costello, it’s all about growth: “We look forward to continuing to do what we’ve done in the first eight months, which is taking care of the local businesses in our community.”
READ MORE IN REFRESH MIAMI:
- Fort Lauderdale is home to a new, digital-first bank focused on supporting businesses in South Florida
- Cross-border payment platform Payall snags $10M seed led by a16z
- MAJORITY expands Florida footprint, with $37.5M Series B in tow