Community Bank Demand for Innovative Solutions Surging: ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator 2021 Records Three-Fold Increase in Bank Participation

  By Charles E. Potts 

After 12 fully immersive weeks and hundreds of meetings with community bankers, core vendors, regulators and venture capital firms, the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator 2021 cohort revealed a glimpse into the future of banking with high-tech, high-touch solutions tailored for community banks and their customers. And the demand for these solutions is quickening.  

Building off the success of the previous two accelerators, and laser-focused on addressing critical pain points in cybersecurity, digital customer engagement, loan origination and governance, customer acquisition and retention, along with financial wellbeing, we knew this year’s virtual format offered an opportunity for even greater community banker engagement and that was certainly the case.  

We tripled the number of bank participants, hosted more than 500 decisionmakers and performed over 1,000 pitches, and by the time our cohort presented their solutions at this year’s ThinkTECH Showcase and Demo Day, we were confident that the solutions being offered were primed to address member bank needs. 

  Here’s how the fintech cohort members can help your community bank right now:  

  • Agent.IQ fosters deeper relationships between community banks and their customers in a digital-first world through its digital customer engagement platform.  

  • Artis supports evolving customers’ preferences and provides new revenue opportunities for community banks with embedded lending at the point of sale.  

  • Beauceron Security creates cybersecurity awareness and promotes lasting behavior change in bank staff working from home or in the office. 

  • Finosec saves community banks time and enhances exam preparedness with its cyber preparedness and governance platform. 

  • Harness provides opportunities for deeper community engagement with its card-linked fundraising and charitable giving program, which also appeals to and attracts Millennials and Gen Z. 

  • Shastic builds robotic, automated loan origination software to automate repetitive tasks, increase productivity, and maintain high-touch, personal relationships in a digital age. 

  • UPSWOT broadens community banks’ reach into the small business market through a data aggregation and analysis platform for small businesses.  

  • Zogo Finance helps community banks attract young adults with its gamified financial wellness education. 

  • Z Suite Technologies helps community banks meet the unique needs of their commercial clients with digital commercial escrow tools. 

Two of these fintech participants received additional recognition for their extraordinary effort, collaborative spirit and their solutions’ ability to support community bank business objectives. During the ICBA Connect ThinkTECH Showcase hosted in partnership with The Venture Center, Harness was selected as the 2021 Banker’s Choice Award recipient and “MVP” honors were bestowed on Beauceron during a second Demo Day in collaboration with the State of Arkansas.  

I encourage you to view a recording of this year’s community-bank enabling solutions. I also hope that you will plan to participate in next year’s ThinkTECH Accelerator Program. The ThinkTECH Accelerator is just one of many ways ICBA supports our members innovation journey and partners with leading providers to promote community-bank-enabling technology. 

To continue to engage with fintech providers and explore solutions designed exclusively to meet community banks and their customers' needs, visit ICBA’s Preferred Service Providers and Solutions Directory

Charles E. Potts is ICBA senior vice president and chief innovation officer.