ICBA Center for Innovation: The Next Chapter in Fostering Community Bank-Fintech Partnerships

Feb. 16, 2024

It’s an exciting time for ICBA Innovation, culminating in the long-awaited opening of ICBA’s Center for Innovation—an initiative more than a year in the making with the promise to help drive community bank innovation.

But what’s really exciting is the activity happening inside the office of 999 Peachtree Street, where key stakeholders convene to discuss future collaboration opportunities.

Bringing in the Cores

To this end, we recently hosted our first-ever Core Day, bringing together core bank processors—CSI, DCI, FIS, Fiserv, Jack Henry, and Q2—and our current ThinkTECH Accelerator cohort (AP6). We listened to community bank concerns about challenges with technology adoption and integration and created this forum to workshop solutions to overcome potential impediments to progress.

If feedback from AP6 is any indication, we’re well on our way to putting the pieces together. Trust Stamp President Andrew Gowasack, a member of AP6 noted that “transparency” and “access” to core providers has helped his team stay “up to speed” with relevant developments.

For the participating cores, like ThinkTECH Accelerator sponsor Fiserv, the accelerator offers line of sight into promising solutions and the opportunity to help shape future solutions.

Regulator Day Takes Shape

But as our cohort has come to appreciate, technology must withstand the rigors of regulatory scrutiny. That’s why we host the ThinkTECH Regulator Day every year to bring policymakers to the table to ensure these solutions reflect community bank infrastructure, market dynamics, and regulatory requirements.

This year’s Regulator Day again featured in-person meetings with federal and state regulators, offering constructive feedback to support the best environment to grow and strengthen community bank-fintech partnerships.

The cohort also heard from ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey, who sat down with OCC Acting Deputy Comptroller for Financial Technology Donna Murphy, to learn more about the agency’s efforts to promote responsible innovation that is also responsive to market dynamics.

Murphy described the OCC’s support for community bank efforts to modernize their systems and to innovate, including through bank-fintech partnerships. Murphy stressed the OCC’s interest in working with community banks in this area, adding, “The OCC has dedicated staff to support community bankers as they consider the potential benefits of implementing new technologies and also ensure that appropriate risk management systems are in place.”

Showcase Spotlights Solutions

It all leads up to our Showcase during ICBA LIVE on March 13, where the refined solutions of AP6 will be on display (along with our alumni cohort). Attending community bankers will also be able to connect with our cohort for a deeper dive on their solutions to glean how these offerings are being deployed to enhance customer experiences.

Of course, the seeds planted during the Accelerator are only the beginning. A bountiful harvest requires tending. That’s where our innovation center comes into play. This base of operations will serve as a home for continuous innovation as we work to leverage technology that delivers value and helps community banks compete and excel amid unforeseen challenges and changes.

We hope to see you in Orlando next month, and we welcome your feedback as we continue to source the solutions of tomorrow. Click here to recommend a fintech for consideration for AP7 before the March 8 deadline. And if you’re interested in learning more about our innovation programming or scheduling a banker visit, go to icba.org/accelerator.

The pursuit of innovation is a continuous journey. By harnessing the resources and support available through ICBA, there's no technological destination beyond our grasp.