David Reiling, Chairman & CEO of Sunrise Banks

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Many community banks have been having a difficult time in recent years as banking becomes ever more intertwined with technology. They don’t have big budgets to spend on tech but more importantly many leaders of community banks don’t have a technology-first mindset.

Our next guest on the Lend Academy Podcast is David Reiling, the CEO and Chairman of Sunrise Banks, a community bank based in the Twin Cities. As David says on the show he is more of an entrepreneur than a banker (despite an entire career spent in banking) and that shows with his approach to fintech. They are one of the few community banks that are a provider to fintech companies and certainly the only one doing so as a CDFI and certified B-Corp.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • David’s interesting and atypical background in banking.
  • The origin of the Sunrise Banks brand.
  • The mission of Sunrise Banks and why it is fundamental to what they do.
  • The two distinct groups of their customers today.
  • How and why they decided to start the fintech side of their business.
  • Why they decided to form a deep partnership with True Connect.
  • How they work with fintechs in the US, UK and the EU.
  • How they are using technology internally to serve their banking customers.
  • The size of their bank today.
  • Why David decided to write a book on fintech.
  • David’s thoughts on the future of community banks.
  • How he thinks the disruption caused by COVID-19 will impact banks.
  • What is next for Sunrise Banks.

Read a transcription of our conversation below.


Welcome to the Lend Academy Podcast, Episode No. 240, this is your host, Peter Renton, Founder of Lend Academy and Co-Founder of the LendIt Fintech Conference.


Peter Renton: Today on the show, I am delighted to welcome David Reiling, he is the CEO and Chairman at Sunrise Banks. Now, Sunrise Banks is a super interesting organization, they are a community bank, but they also are a mission-driven bank, and we get into some depth about what that actually means. They do provide services to their local community, a lot of them are immigrants and low, middle income populations, but they have a different side of the bank where they are providing other services to other fintechs.

We talk about that in some depth and talk about some of the fintechs they’re working with today and what services they’re offering. We also get into David’s thoughts on the future of the community banking sector, he gives his thoughts on COVID-19, and more. It was a fascinating interview, I hope you enjoy the show.

Welcome to the podcast, David!

David Reling: Thank you, Peter, great to be with you today.

Peter: Likewise. So, I’d like to get this thing started by giving the listeners a little bit of background. It looks like you’ve been in banking for most of your career, so why don’t you just give us some of the highlights of your career to date.

David: Sure. It’s funny because everybody looks at me from being a bank owner as being a banker, I characterize myself more as an entrepreneur.

Peter: Okay.

David: So, my career started off really working construction every summer that I can imagine, except for one when I was a bank teller and I loved being a bank teller (Peter laughs), it was so much fun. As a matter of fact, the bank that I was in that summer got robbed twice, right to the left of me and right to the right of me, and I thought it was super exciting (Peter laughs). So, between the money, and the people, and the robberies, I just thought, this is really cool.

So, I go off to college, I ended up starting a business in college selling T-shirts and sweatshirts, and the business grew to be fairly good-sized, and after I graduated sold that business, and since I love being a banker, I went to work for a bank in Los Angeles called First Interstate Bank. Who knew, but my first two weeks on the job there as a bank teller, got robbed three times.

So, bank robbery seemed to be my destiny in terms of part of being a banker, and I thought it was the normal course of business. It so happened that the district manager thought I handled myself pretty well, sent me off to south central Los Angeles where I spent a number of years in south central LA, in the bank capital robbery of the world, and learning how to navigate an urban core of diverse languages, drugs, gangs, Bloods and Crips, Rodney King and riots, fires, earthquakes, and so it was really an exciting time for me. But, probably the turning point there was really the third time I had a gun to my head, I figured my luck wouldn’t hold out. And so, I moved to Citibank, had a great experience there, really got exposure to both the investment side as well as the international presence of banking, and had a blast, was working my way towards New York City and corporate headquarters.

My father called and let me know that there was a bank for sale and moved back to St. Paul, Minnesota where I grew up, bought a bank with my father and begun a turnaround situation of a bank that was really a train wreck and about to fail, and really with a focus in on the only way this bank was going to succeed is if the community succeeded. It just so happened at that time the Hmong from Laos, Southeast Asians, were the immigrants in the community at that time and so we, essentially, created a Hmong bank, Hmong customers, Hmong staff and we bet on them, they bet on us, and we grew nicely.

My father had owned two other small banks at the time, and I eventually ended up taking over running those, I kind of merged two holding companies together and three bank charters. We bought another bank charter and bank branch along the way and then kind of took off, but all around this context of really doing well by doing good in a mission-driven type of way and that kind of really led us into the leveraging of technology.

Peter: Right, right, okay. So, let’s talk about Sunrise Banks and how….when did you actually kind of launched that name and was that based on that one turnaround bank? Just tell us a little bit about how the name and brand came together.

David: Yeah, sure. So, it really started in about 2004, I mean, I bought that bank with my father in 1995 and 2004 was when I really took over. Even though we had two bank holding companies and three separate bank charters at that time, we started to go by….like one bank was called University National Bank, the other was Franklin National Bank and below the lines we’d say was the Sunrise Community Bank. So, we’re trying to kind of link the three charters together even though they kind of served distinctly different neighborhoods. We’re trying to get that halo effect, if you will, and in 2007 was when we really brought the two holding companies together, still three separate charters.

And then, we came up with the name of Sunrise, it was actually my father’s name, if you will. He was living in Florida and I was on my way to work of which I drive east in the morning, I drive right into the sun, so that’s about (laughs) as old as scientific as how we get to the name (Peter laughs). So, the holding company became Sunrise Banks, we did business as that and then eventually, in 2013, we consolidated all the charters and changed the names of the banks officially to Sunrise Banks. It is plural based on our history as well as the URL Sunrise Bank was already taken, so we stuck with Sunrise Banks and cracked them.

Peter: Okay. So then, you mentioned already that you’re a mission-driven company and maybe just share why that is and what is the mission.

David: Yeah. So, overall, people really understand that the mission is to do well by doing good and what that means from a standpoint is our mission is really at the forefront of what we do. If you think about it, it’s just not to add on and it’s just not you mission plus, you know, or margin plus a mission and we certainly don’t think of it to detract, or we really think that our mission and engagement was not only our local communities, but with fintechs, if you will, that do good.

That expansion of the mission expands the size of the bank, its earning potential, its business partners, and so it’s really our mission multiplies our margin and then our margin can reinvest in the mission and so there’s a synergistic effect in that state. If I had to give you…take out maybe the more philosophical into the concrete, we have a couple of different certifications, some of which your listeners may be familiar with.

The first one that we got was what’s known as the CDFI certification from the US Treasury as a community development financial institution and that real quickly is you have in your by-laws, or board resolutions, your mission is of economic and community development, but then you have to walk that talk, meaning 60% of your services, primarily are loans, have to be to low to moderate income census track and individuals. And so, you’ve got to walk that talk every year in terms of certification.

Outside of that, our next certification is really as a Certified B Corp, and that’s a little bit more broad and more holistic, so think of instead of a double bottom line, do well do good, it’s a triple bottom line of hey, we’re going to look out for the social as well as environmental and financial aspects of our customers and the bank. And, the B Corp. Certification probably fits us the most, in terms of where the bank’s focus and mission really lies. It also has to do with governance and transparency, how we engage with not only our customers, but for other stakeholder groups, and so in that realm that Sunrise lives.

And if I had to take you one step further, we’re also members of what’s known as the Global Alliance of Banking and Value. So, just think of it as a value space bank, but on every continent of the world and really allows us to see different models and participating conversations with bank and cooperatives, or credit unions in the US that have those value space win and we can really take a look at organizations in South America that grew out of the microfinance, or, you know, what’s happening in the Bank of Afghanistan, or Palestine, some places we rarely hear about.

Different models are really fascinating and what’s happening in war-torn areas as well as very impoverished areas and very environmentally…the ministers as well. So, first of all, it takes my complaining away as a banker out because, you know, this is not Afghanistan, so I should stop complaining and just get on with my work. So, things of that nature make it easy, but, you know, allows the creativity to think outside the box of just your typical bank model.

Peter: That makes sense, okay. So then, you’ve got a customer base that is somewhat serving low and lower middle income, I guess you can say, so maybe you could talk….like what is the core customer base, you mentioned Hmong…is that still a big part of what you do, I mean, who are your core customers today?

David: Yeah. So, there’s really two distinct groups of our customers which really mirror our two business models. One, being very traditional, what you might think of traditional community banks, or in our case traditional community development bank, so urban core, Minneapolis and St. Paul. We are primarily a commercial bank when it comes to lending, so small business loans to create job creation and to support local entrepreneurs. We do a lot of affordable housing lending for shelter and we do a lot of community facilities as well and bank a lot of NGOs, or non-profits, we, basically, there’s a mission fit with all those folks.

On the consumer side in the twin cities, again, from a local perspective, we bank not only the business owners, but we bring primarily three different ethnic groups, so the Hmong, as I talked about, the Somali population and in Minnesota, the Latino population is really Mexican, so some Mexican population, so that is half of our business, if you will, for our business model.

The other half is really in the payment and in the fintech space, and we look for, I guess you call them program managers on the payment side, particularly in the pre-paid card space, or fintechs, really technology companies in all aspects that are looking to serve people and provide some elements of good.

And they don’t necessarily just have to be low income if you think about good in terms of helping people build their credit history, stay out of high cost, or payday lending, build their savings, get access to accounts that they, otherwise, wouldn’t have access to with unique ways of identifying their citizenship and so forth. So, we use our partnerships with fintechs and payment providers in order to provide greater access, convenience, ease of use through better design and at a fair price.

Peter: Okay. So then, when did that whole like fintech initiative, I guess you call the fintech part of the bank, when did that all get going and what was the spark that, you know, kind of created that because you’ve got on the one hand, they feel like two very different initiatives. You are serving your core customers and then you’re also becoming like a Banking-as-a-Service type to other fintech companies. When and why did you get that started.

David: Yeah, it’s funny because I can picture it like it was yesterday. So, the bank that my father and I bought…I was walking across the parking lot and I saw three older Hmong women, I call them grandmothers because they kind of a….the persona in my head, they were trying to use their EBT Card, their Electronic Benefit Card, their food stamps, if you will. They were trying to get the money off the card at our ATM and they were putting it in, pushing buttons and it wasn’t working out.

So, I went up and helped them, they didn’t speak English and I don’t speak Hmong, so there were a lot of smiles and I showed them how to use it. We went through all three cards and they got their money and that if there was a moment of the light bulb going on, it was at that time. So, it was like, you know, a little bit of education with technology really can allow us to help a lot of people get access to their money, and it’s not all that complicated. What ended up happening from there was those three grandmothers they contacted us though one of their children and asked if we could hold classes at the ATM (Peter laughs) to show everybody how to use their EBT Card and so we did.

We showed everybody in the community how to use their EBT Card and truth be told, we used to load that ATM up with like $80,000 every two weeks and it would be gone. But, it was a great way of building trust with the community and engaging with them and then, ultimately, getting more staff, and so it really was, again, exponential, or a multiplier in terms of engagement and business for the bank, but it really started with trying to listen to what the needs are and figuring out how to help people with their Electronic Benefit Card.

Peter: Right, right, okay. So, obviously, you’ve moved a long way, a lot further longer way than that, and maybe you can tell us….I see your name more and more, I mean, obviously there’s TrueConnect, Remitly I have seen, Self Lender, called Self these days, but ….so maybe you can tell us, let me take one, or two of those and just talk about what you’re actually providing and how the relationship sort of started.

David: Yeah. So, I’d probably take it from that story and just refer back to one of the comments that I said that I’m probably more of an entrepreneur than a banker. So, it really started to stem when we were working with immigrant populations and so forth. We were testing and trying everything we could to innovate to provide greater access to accounts and to loans to individuals and businesses. It was that same mindset coming off of working in the pre-paid space where we started to what else can we do and we’ve been in the tax business, we’re in the check cashing business, we’ve been in multiple different businesses that has led us up to where we are today to some of the products like, for example, TrueConnect.

And so, TrueConnect is a small dollar loan offering as a volunteer employee benefit, so we sell it to businesses for the benefit of their employees and allows them to take out a loan anywhere from $1,000 to 5,000, gets repaid through payroll deduction, it is fixed rate, no cost, no fees, if you will, and can be prepaid at anytime. And so, we’re engaging with employers to help the financial wellness of their employees.

Peter: Right, okay. So, obviously, that kind of service can be very, very helpful for those that are struggling, but I guess the question…I read that you actually….you’re not only a partner with TrueConnect, but you actually made an investment in that company. So, this is something that…I mean, is that something you planned on doing more of, I mean, tell us a little bit about that.

David: Sure, yeah. TrueConnect is unique in that case and it’s more like a joint venture in that case than it is just a regular partnership.

Peter: Right.

David: Yeah, because in that case we did make an investment in the company and we can just see what is coming in its benefit, and not just from a standpoint of a one-product situation. TrueConnect, while we talk about in terms of small dollar installment loans, it really is a platform in which to deliver additional products and services to employees, and whether that’s payroll-deducted in terms of a loan, whether that’s access to accounts, or remittances, savings products.

I think there’s all sorts of ways in which we can help, generally speaking, that middle to low end of employees and even high end, I should say, access TrueConnect loans as well. But, there are products and services that we can distribute through that channel probably very accessibly, super conveniently because we have some data, and it’s designed right that can be very simple to use and really at an efficient price for everyone. So, the fact is that there’s such a really good model and a platform enhance why we made the investment.

Peter: Right, right, okay.

David: Now, I wish I had the capital to do multiple investments and we may, in some cases, trade some banking services for a stake in the company to help maybe more of a startup get out and running, but there’s a limit to what we can do from a financial capital standpoint.

Peter: Sure, understood, understood. Now, maybe just talk about Self, we had James Garvey, the CEO, on the show over a year ago, another fascinating company that….creative idea to help consumers build, or rebuild their credit. Tell us about how you kind of connected with James and how the partnership works.

David: Yeah, sure. I mean, it was funny because we got connected with James through multiple channels. One that sticks out, I think, the first time I ever met him was at what used to be CFSI, now the Financial Health Network, is where he and I first met, but we had multiple people saying, you know, David, you need to meet James and I think he had a few people say, James, you need to meet David in Sunrise in terms of you seem there is a fit there.

So, that was kind of initial discussion and I would say, pretty much right from the start there was very much a willingness on both sides to want to do business together, and, you know, create that contractual and partnership relationship and wish to provide, you know, on our side the banking service of leveraging the charter and kind of managing the flow of funds and for James to have that, you know, capability in order to distribute these loans in all 50 states.

Peter: Okay. So then, how should we think of Sunrise, or how would you like….lots of fintech entrepreneurs listen to this show, how would you like them to think of you….I mean, you’re doing Banking-as-a-Service, I mean, what are the offerings that you would like to highlight, as far as how you want to work with other fintechs?

David: Yeah. So, I think, Banking-as-a-Service is probably the most generic way to think about it. What we really love to do is to engage in conversation. We do this really on a daily basis with fintechs, not only in the US, but also in the UK and EU primarily, and those fintechs wanting to come to the United States. The conversation is one of what are your capabilities and goals, and aspirations, and what are ours, and the fact is it’s funny, even some conversations where you think there might not be something, or we run into a lot of people that don’t think that their fintech does good in some way, but the fact is, it really does.

It’s like, you know, in EarnUp I wrote about, you know, they’re helping people with their budgeting in their bills and that is such a financial wellness component that we would love to see expanded, or Nova Credit. Now, we don’t work with these two yet, but the fact is, you know, with the ethnic populations that we serve and the immigrant populations like a Nova Credit that can, you know, kind of import the credit history from their home, or host country to the US credit system, really provides these people access to credit, accounts and so much more and a lot of times their entrepreneurial launch.

And so, there are tremendous amounts of fintechs, in my opinion, that do good that may not think of it in that way, but there are synergies between us. And even it’s a case that we can’t help them, we might be able to refer, or give it to another bank, or to investors and so forth that can. And so, really, our doors are open to have those conversations with financial technology companies pretty much anywhere and explore the possibilities.

Peter: Right. And so, just to be clear then, the last time we chatted was actually in Paris at the Paris Fintech Forum. So, you’re going there because you want to meet with other European fintechs, but only those fintechs interested in entering the US market, right.

David: Yeah, I mean, we have a US banking license and charter and so this is the place that we do business. Now, we do have, for example, pre-paid programs through some program managers probably in eight to ten different countries that we distribute cards, but it’s out of a US domicile entity, and so yes, it is primarily the US, in terms of the distribution.

But, I would say our market is probably North America, UK, EU, in terms of companies that want to domicile here and do business and get access to the market. And when you talked about an offering, it sounds fairly generic, but if you have to move, store, or lend money, that’s what we’re in the business for and whether there’s a mission and the values fit that, that’s the conversation that we need to have.

Peter: Right, right, got it, okay, So, I’m curious about your use of technology. I mean, you’re here, you’ve already contrasted sort of helping the immigrant community that would really challenge the technology challenge, shall we say, going to providing technology services and banking services, how are you using technology internally to, you know, serve your customers?

David: Sure. Internally, like a lot of community banks, we’re transforming, you know, our paper offerings to digital from a distribution standpoint, and we actually do something very….a lot of times, we had ideas locally that we expanded nationally, in terms of products and services. In terms of the fintech, this is one that’s kind of in the reverse.

So, we’ve digitized our standard checking, savings and loan products, and now, we’re partnering with local partners in the twin cities and just outside the twin cities in order to distribute those products. So, if you go to…..one example is a non-profit called Prepare and Prosper, and we have what’s called the Fair Initiative.

In Prepare and Prosper, really their main business is doing volunteer income tax preparation, but at that time of tax preparation there’s usually a refund, there’s a need for a checking, or a savings account, and there’s an opportunity in which to teach people how to use those tools. And so, Prepare and Prosper, through their distribution of tax prep site and their people, they can offer a white label product of the fair checking, or savings account right at the point of desktop.

And so, this is one way that we can reach our tenet result, not just in our local community, but even broader, I think, as time goes on, and so those are the partnership and collaboration type of model over again.

Peter: Okay.

David: I mean, from that technology standpoint, I think, the other thing that you see is our systems today continue to transform and they transform not only within what you might think of as the core technology as bank, you know, it’s our data warehouse and our data systems that become extremely important in terms of fintech, and so, not only fintech, but locally. We really are finding ourselves in the data business and so our ability to house the data, store the data, how to access it becomes very important and those are kind of things that….you know, they’re in the backroom behind the curtains, but that’s where some of the magic happens.

Peter: Right, right, okay. So then, maybe can you give the listeners some sense of the size of your bank, like assets, number of branches, employees, that sort of thing?

David: You got it. So, we are a $1.1 Billion in total assets as what you would see on our call report, or on any financial statement, we generate so many deposits through our payments in fintech that were really about $1.5 Billion, if you take into account the money deposits we sell off our balance sheet. So, all things considered, we’re relatively……I mean, from a community bank size, we’re a good, sustainable size and growing, we’re not super small, or we’re not super big which is good because we’re still agile enough.

We have about 270 employees and our headquarters is in St. Paul, Minnesota, we have six banking locations, or branches in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, and then we also have a production office in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. If you’re not familiar with Sioux Falls, it is the card capital of the world, whether it’s prepaid cards, or credit cards and it’s a lot of where the payments industry live in the US. Somewhat because of the laws of South Dakota, the state of South Dakota, it’s where I kind of grew up, in the Citibank and Chase and Target.

You’ll find all the credit card companies down there, so the talent is there, in terms of the payments business as well as attorneys and accountants and so forth. So, our office in Sioux Falls houses about 20 plus employees and is growing significantly and so, that’s a lot of where the fintech business comes, but I would say that one of the secret sauces, if you will, to Sunrise, in terms of its core competency, will be in the area of compliance.

Our Compliance Department is probably more like a US bank than it is a community bank, and it’s the capability that we have in that department that really allows to be on entrepreneurial, try different business lines, look at all sorts of different models on the fintech side, whether it is to store, move, or lend money. Everybody’s got a little different, or a secret sauce, in terms of what they present and our job is to keep that compliance, yet allowing people to do business. So, we’ve been able to figure out many creative ways in which to work within the regulations and do it safely and soundly, but allow business to continue.

Peter: Right, okay. I’m curious about…..you wrote a book recently, or, I guess, over a year ago now, but not many bankers write books about fintech and I know, I actually haven’t read whole book, I meant to read the whole book before the interview and I never got around finishing it, but you have like five….you featured five different companies and some of them we’ve already talked about.

David: Yeah.

Peter: So, what was the thinking behind the book and what were you hoping to achieve?

David: Yeah. So, first I have to tell you that ….for your listeners, it’s an entrepreneur’s book, so it’s more of a pamphlet, I’m just kidding, it’s more of a small book than it is War and Peace, and so…I don’t have the attention span for a large book. The real purpose of it is, particularly, listening to bankers on one side thinking that, you know, fintech is the end all, be all of competitor to community banks and banking, and at the same time, there are other people saying, you know, fintech is going to destroy the local and the relationship and all that.

In the conversations that we have with different fintechs, I find more times than not that there’s some good that’s coming out of it, whether, you know it’s something on the social side, or on the environmental side, or helping seniors, or protecting them from elder abuse. There’s so many different ways that we see fintechs that are solving problems and helping consumers and businesses that I really wanted to share the stories and let people be aware that, you know, stop fearing this for a moment, open up your mind as well as your heart for a moment and take a look at what can be done.

There are ways of partnering and collaborate to solve issues that you have in your community and to develop that mindset and really start from a standpoint of, you know, is there a way within the fintech industry, broad as it may be, to say, you know, is there some element of good, especially when I look at….you know, BLCC came out and trying to do a bit of controversy relative to a fintech charter, but financial inclusion was one of the aspects in that, so is there a way to meet that test.

So, there were….I just think people were missing some of the points, or there are dots to connect to say, you know, between your bank, the regulator and the fintech, everybody is in vigorous agreement here, although we’re just not communicating. So, part of the book was to put up some examples like on Self, we talked about Peanut Butter that helps people’s student loans, TrueConnect on the small dollar lending, Nova Credit in terms of immigrants and the credit bureaus, and EarnUp in terms of their budget and management.

Those are just, I think, five examples of like 20 I had in which to just highlight some good that’s going on in the industry and try to encourage people to think in that mindset, particularly fintech, that there’s good in it, there’s more than just money that can be had here.

Peter: Okay. So, we’re almost out of time, but a couple more questions I really want to get to here. First is just about the community banking landscape in general. I feel like there’s…. community banks are continuing to be challenged by technology and by fintech. You’re, obviously, one that has kind of really sort of used technology to your advantage. What are your thoughts on the community banking sector as a whole, are you optimistic about its future?

David: You know, I wish I could say that I’m optimistic about the future, but I think…we’ve seen the number of bank charters decline over the past 30 years for multiple reasons, and that continues today. We lose about one bank charter a day due to merger and consolidation and so forth, and that is going to continue, if not accelerate, with the entrance of fintech in the space.

So, it’s going to take a bank that’s open-minded, willing to collaborate in which to engage with fintech and invest in it, in which to survive to a certain extent. It’s not to say that all community banks are going away because some are in very rural parts, or are very niche businesses and they will continue, but you’re just not going to have as many charters as we do today. It’s just that the game is moving at such a pace and if you hadn’t made that investment, it’s almost hard to catch up at this point in time.

Peter: Okay.

David: If I can say one other thing in regard to that, one of the biggest issues is not financial, it’s really the mindset of both the board and management of community banks. The diversity of thought, or the scarcity mind of things, hey, can we just go back to the way it was.

Peter: Right.

David: And that’s like, you know, blockbuster thinking its going to resurrect and Netflix is going to go away, you know, it’s just not going to happen.

Peter: Yeah, yeah, for sure. Anyway, we’re recording this on March 11th, the day that the WHO just declared COVID-19 a pandemic and I’m curious….obviously, it’s a fast moving situation, this will be published in a couple of weeks and things might have changed completely by then, but I’m just curious to get your take on how you feel like it’s impacting, or will impact the banking system and banks like yours, and maybe what fintech can do to help..

David: Yeah, it’s a great question, Peter. This has been my life for the past several days and I think will continue to be so for the next couple of months. So, if you think about a bank from our two business models, I will take a very local business model approach. As the pandemic kind of spreads its way through the United States, you’ll find that branches close, or consolidate to have only one branch open in a particular area to minimize the impact, lobbies being closed, using drive-thru, relying on their technology, their online banking, their mobile banking in which to transact business. And so, this is really….if there is a silver lining in terms of banks and technology, I think the pandemic is going to shift banks’ mindset into, can we work remotely, why do we do things the way we do, what’s really essential?

When you get down to those root questions, these are the things we really need to do and these are the things that were nice, but what, we could stop doing them. That’s when change happens and, unfortunately, it takes a crisis to do that, but the fact is the preparation for that and the mindset around that is really coming from a good place of we want to protect our customers, our employees and our community from the spreading of this pandemic, but it really is allowing us to re-think what is essential and how are we going to function under those conditions which a lot will really lie on our ability to, you know, remote in from home and use automation processes and so forth.

If I had to take that out into the broader fintech space, it is one of the beauties of an automated technology and that is why I never went into a bank to start with. I don’t even rely on that system today. I can transact, I can access my loan with various tools, whether it’s a card, or online and do so very efficiently and effectively and without having to leave the comfort of my home, or expose myself and my family to that.

Peter: Right, right, makes sense. Okay, so last question then, what is on tap, what’s next for Sunrise Banks?

David: Yeah. For Sunrise, it’s really going to be the big growth engine for us will be around our engagement with financial technology companies in broadening our capabilities and capacity in which to do that. We’ll likely spin up and entity in which we’ll be able to take on more volume in terms of fintechs and work with many banks in which to distribute some of those loans and assets and, potentially, kind of share in that growth. And so, we see from our own pipeline standpoint as well as what’s beyond that, that fintech is a big and bright future for us and we look to engage with fintechs on all sorts of different levels.

The one thing that I would kind of lay out where we really find some interesting models is on companies and individuals who have technologies, or customer bases that they don’t think they’re a fintech. They don’t identify that way, they might identify that they’re an attorney, or an accountant, or something, but they have a solution in which they do need to move, store, lend money which we can help them do that and facilitate that.

And so, we’re seeing more and more……our services is behind the curtain, or on the back of the card, or embedded in the terms and conditions, but our customer partners are on the front and we’re just facilitating a faster, better, easier transaction for the consumer or business that’s out front, a better customer experience.

Peter: Okay, that sounds great and I wish you all the best. I really appreciate your coming on the show today, David.

David: Thanks, Peter, I really enjoyed it, thank you.

Peter: Okay, see you.

David: Bye.

Peter: Now, we’ve heard it many times from banks of all sizes and say they’re not really a bank, they’re more of a fintech company, or a technology company, as some would say. You know, I think in the case of Sunrise Banks, they are walking the walk and I think what makes them so interesting to me is that they’re really embracing fintech, embracing being a provider to other fintech companies.

At the same time, they’re this mission-driven company serving their community, serving with their CDFI, the B Corp. and that combination, I think, is unique in the entire country. I really don’t think there is another bank out there quite like Sunrise Banks, so I think they have a unique position and David, obviously, has big plans. I think they’re one of the most interesting banks and one to watch.

Anyway on that note, I will sign off. I very much appreciate you listening and I’ll catch you next time. Bye.