Beta Financial Services, Inc. announced Thursday that it had submitted an application to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to create BetaBank. BetaBank is a black-owned, fully digital banking option for small-to-medium sized businesses. It's being built on Google Cloud and integrated with BetaBank's proprietary cloud-based AI.
According to the press release, BetaBank will be one of the first digital banks in the US built from the ground up on Google Cloud. The proprietary AI will be utilized to determine loan qualifications for businesses than traditional banks can quickly and more accurately. The company said it would also be more cost effective.
The goal of BetaBank is to offer small-to-medium sized business owners a more accessible and equitable banking experience than traditional banks. Additionally, BetaBank looks to provide underrepresented and underserved groups more favorable terms. Underrepresented and underserved groups typically have a harder time securing capital for business ventures.
According to the company, 66%of Black, Indigenous or persons of color (BIPOC) business owners receive at least a percentage of the requested funding from banks, compared to 80% of white business owners. Furthermore, minority business owners who receive capital from traditional banks pay higher interest rates when compared to non-minority business owners.
"As a child, I watched my father repeatedly let down by our financial system," Seke Ballard, CEO of Beta Financial Services and founder of BetaBank, said in the release. "He was a successful business owner in North Carolina, but when he needed capital to expand his business to nearby states, he was denied 13 times. Small business owners deserve a better way to bank."
By building on Google Cloud, BetaBank will have the tools at its disposal to sustain long-term business. The digital bank will have access to advanced security and anti-fraud measures and be able to easily scale as the business grows.
"Combining Google Cloud's cutting-edge infrastructure with BetaBank's powerful vision and lending algorithm will help enable the bank to provide its customers with access to the services they need in a safe and secure environment," Janet Kennedy, North America vice president of Google Cloud said in the release.
Additionally, Ballard worked with Deloitte -- a financial risk and advisory company -- to build the BetaBank infrastructure to meet the demands of a fully-digital banking option properly. Deloitte also helped create BetaBank's digital customer interface, and the company will continue to support BetaBank as it prepares to launch.
BetaBank is currently in formation and scheduled to open to customers in early 2023. To sign up to join the waitlist, visit betabank.com.