Dave Mitchell, founder and chief executive officer of Owners Bank, discusses the significant changes he has seen in the financial services industry, particularly the growing role of small businesses and the rise of digital banking. He offers advice for fintech startups, talks about the future of the fintech industry, and introduces Owners Bank, a digital bank designed exclusively for small businesses.
You have worked in the financial services sector for more than 20 years. How has the industry changed over this time?
Over the course of my career, one of the most notable changes I have seen in financial services is the increased role of small businesses in the economy and their lack of representation by big banks. Overtime, banking has become a one-size-fits-all industry. Small businesses make up 99.9% of U.S. businesses, however, less than half of them believe their primary financial institution understands their needs. This has led to the rise of digital banking, which allows for more personalised service as well as convenience and ease of use, which big banks cannot provide.
As you have a lot of experience in building fintech companies, what advice would you give to a fintech start-up?
There are a few things but having a clear passion and vision is the first key. When we created Owners Bank, the mission was to design products and services to help small businesses that make banking easier so they can focus on what they do best and not have to be accountants. In order to break through the fintech noise and be an effective leader in the face of digital disruption we had to be confident and resilient in the mission we set out to accomplish. Coming from a family of small business owners, I understood clearly the challenges businesses face. One very similar pain point for small businesses and startups is the importance of capital and cash flow.
I believe that digital banking is the future of the fintech industry and will evolve rapidly.
Where do you see the fintech industry heading in the next five to 10 years?
I believe that digital banking is the future of the fintech industry and will evolve rapidly. We will see a rise of smaller digital banks competing with big banks, who instead of delivering to hyper localised customers, will continue to provide a one-size-fits-all approach. Digital banks will continue to evolve to best serve their customers and a specific niche, such as meeting the needs of small business owners who work on the road most of the week like Owners Bank. Digital solutions will allow these banks to better connect with their customers and expand nationwide.
Can you tell me about Owners Bank and what motivated you to start the company?
A solution exclusively designed for small businesses has been long overdue, which is why we started Owners Bank. Coming from a family of small business owners it was frustrating not to be able to get access to capital or support from larger banks during a few recessions so we wanted to start a bank that could be there for the small guys when they needed it most. We use a high tech, high-touch approach also, which allows small business owners to feel the benefits of a virtual bank without losing the connection to and accountability of easy-to-reach US-based customer service representatives. Owners Bank has prioritised offerings that speak directly to financial pain points of small business owners, such as accounts with no monthly maintenance fees, budgeting tools, digital invoicing capabilities, credit cards and fast (but safe) loans to keep cash accessible. A suite of best-in-class apps and services, paired with customer service, are designed to make life easier and success more attainable for owners who play many (and sometimes all) roles within their business.
Our mission we set out to accomplish is to help save one small business at a time.
What made you enter the US FinTech Awards?
The US FinTech Awards’ mission is to celebrate the incredible fintech community in the country, and the achievements and successes of its best and brightest. We are so proud of what we have built and the intent behind it. Our mission we set out to accomplish is to help save one small business at a time.
What are you looking forward to at the awards ceremony?
I’m looking forward to learning more from my peers and identifying ways we can collaborate to move the industry forward. It’s an honor to be recognised amongst the other finalists.
What are the strengths of the fintech sector in the US and what makes it exciting to be part of?
The fintech sector is so much more than just banking, it’s also about building a more responsible and sustainable business model and culture. Investing in sustainability, integrity, innovation, flexibility and our employees’ well-being will effectively optimise organisational operations in the long-term, which makes it so exciting. We have the talent, resources and savvy consumers that allow new product development.
Image: Owners Bank
This interview is supported by Owners Bank.