Today, Cross River Bank (CRB), one of the leading banks supporting marketplace lending platforms, has announced they have closed a significant funding round, $100 million, led by private equity firm KKR. This is by far their largest funding round, dwarfing the $28 million they raised in 2016 and is a validation of the unusual path the New Jersey-based community bank has taken.
Chairman and CEO Gilles Gade shared his comments on this funding round in their press release:
We are very pleased that our growth and progress has the endorsement of leading investors such as KKR. We also welcome new investors CreditEase and Lion Tree Partners and are especially grateful for the continued confidence of our previous investors Battery Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Ribbit Capital. This is a very strong signal that we continue to execute on our plan and are poised to take Cross River through its next phase of successful development here in the U.S. and across the globe.
Started in 2008, which in itself was an interesting time to start a bank, CRB first got involved in fintech very early on when they partnered with GreenSky on home improvement loans. They have since become the go to bank supporting many leading marketplace lending platforms including Marlette, Upstart, Affirm and RocketLoans just to name a few. While maintaining their community banking roots they have become one of the driving forces in the growth of the marketplace lending space with their banking-as-platform solution. They have also become a significant player in broader fintech working with leading players such as Coinbase and Transferwise on payment processing.
CRB is also a founding member of the Online Lending Policy Institute, a nonprofit public policy organization based in Boston, MA whose mission is to encourage responsible innovation in online lending. Their leadership in that organization has helped the industry connect with regulators and lawmakers in Washington.
It is interesting to me that in his quote in the press release Gilles ends with “and across the globe”. I don’t know of any other community bank in America that has global aspirations but with CRB’s success in this country it seems that global expansion is on the horizon. However they choose to grow the company they now have a well funded war chest with which to attack any new market.
Peter Renton is the chairman and co-founder of LendIt Fintech, the world’s first and largest digital media and events company focused on fintech. Peter has been writing about fintech since 2010 and he is the author and creator of the Fintech One-on-One Podcast, the first and longest-running fintech interview series. Peter has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The New York Times, CNBC, CNN, Fortune, NPR, Fox Business News, the Financial Times, and dozens of other publications.