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Cross River Bank, which boasts just one branch in suburban Teaneck, N.J., has become an outsized player in fintech less than 10 years after its founding on the eve of the financial crisis.
The community bank started by a French-born former Barclays and Bear Stearns investment banker has forged partnerships with scores of fintech firms including online lender Upstart, and Coinbase, the virtual currency exchange operator. Cross River also attracted the attention of Silicon Valley, where a leading fintech venture capitalists invested $28 million last year.
This fintech-focus wasn’t foreseeable when Gilles Gade founded the bank in June 2008, just months before the financial crisis halted bank startups and caused hundreds of established institutions, many of them community banks, to fail.
Cross River first diverged from the traditional bank model in 2009, when it partnered with Green Sky Credit, an Atlanta fintech firm that helps businesses offer credit to their customers. The relationship opened the bank’s eyes to the promise of fintech.
“This is something we explored a little further and we became very interested in some of the companies that were nascent at the time,” Gade said.
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