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March 22, 2018
How Banking-as-a-Platform Propels Cross River Bank
Cross River Bank is a new breed of financial institution — a state-chartered bank with the mindset of a fintech startup. Born during the financial crisis, it is innovating through its banking-as-a-platform service that lets other companies offer banking products to their customers. In a wide-ranging interview, Gilles Gade, founder, president and CEO of Cross River Bank, discussed the opportunities he saw in banking during the meltdown, how his bank has kept growing and what’s ahead for fintech. He was interviewed by Knowledge@Wharton and fintech entrepreneur and former Wharton professor Vinay Nair, founder and chairman of investment firm 55ip.
An edited transcript of the conversation follows.
Vinay Nair: Could we start with a little bit about your background?
Gilles Gade: Sure. I was born and raised in Paris, France. I went to business school there, and then joined Citicorp Venture Capital as an intern. I got my internship extended by about a year, which gave me an appetite to get into the financial arena, particularly in the U.S. on Wall Street and I crossed the Atlantic in October 1991. I got my first job in the U.S. at Bear Stearns in investment banking, working primarily on banks and insurance companies, a number of cross-border transactions, international IPOs, privatization of banks and insurance companies abroad, on the European continent. Then I took a hiatus for a couple of years to learn the Talmud (a Jewish religious text).
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