In 2008, in the wake of the last Great Recession, traditional banks were closing their doors and branches were shuttering, rendering conventional banking services and loans less accessible. Businesses and consumers needed access to responsible and affordable credit following one of the worst financial downturns in history. With a new bank charter, a clean balance sheet and fresh capital to deploy, Cross River opened its doors in June of 2008 with the sole purpose of providing access to financial services to businesses and consumers in need.
In 2010, Cross River entered into its first technology partnership, offering loans outside of our physical location in New Jersey. As demand increased for partnerships with third-party origination platforms, we knew a window of opportunity was opening for a nimble, technology-driven bank with aspirations of providing access to credit for consumers who were abandoned by legacy banks. More partnerships followed including Affirm, Marlette, Rocket Loans, Upgrade and Upstart, to name a few. Cross River originates and underwrites every loan, owning the end-to-end process, all while ensuring consumer protection and regulatory compliance remain a top priority.
As Cross River’s reputation and position in the industry strengthened and solidified, we became known for both our leading technology and for our operational and regulatory expertise, while exploring new opportunities on behalf of our partners so they can remain focused on innovating and reaching more businesses and consumers.
Since inception, Cross River has been focused on where technology can be incorporated to improve efficiencies and synergies, so naturally, as our partnerships evolved, we looked to see where our strengths were and where we could improve efficiencies and scalability. Our proprietary banking core, Cross River Operating System (COS), was built in-house from the ground up to meet the needs of our fintech banking partners. We continued to expand our technology and diversify our offerings—with a more specific focus on payments solutions—and worked to develop an in-house mechanism through which systems can process transaction-based payments via APIs in order to provide partners a full suite of banking offerings via our proprietary, API-based core. This was followed by additional payments capabilities including automated wires, push to card, and real-time payments, to name a few.
Nimbleness has enabled Cross River to quickly step in when others can’t and to fill the void so that consumers and businesses are provided with access to financial products whenever and wherever they need. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we quickly pivoted when we saw the potential to help small businesses through the government funded loan program, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). We focused on building an automated lending system, based on our capabilities, to provide forgivable loans to struggling small businesses. We shifted internally, mobilized resources, technology and infrastructure to build and expand our own PPP portal. Ultimately, Cross River was the second largest lender in the country, providing financial lifelines to more than 480,000 small businesses in every state across the U.S., with an average loan size of $27,000—ultimately saving more than 1.4 million jobs.
The world is moving at the speed of change and Cross River is shaping the way we move it forward. Our ability to stay nimble, agile and forward-looking has helped Cross River adapt to the regulatory requirements and the technology advancements the market requires and demands. Cross River brings together the trust, security and legacy of centuries of banking with cutting-edge technology solutions redefining the banking industry, enabling a new way of borrowing and transacting for all. We are fostering the sea of change that ripples throughout the industry—all powered by technology, and always with a strict eye on compliance and consumer protection.