Bank of the West and L’Atelier, the innovation studio arm of Bank of the West parent BNP Paribas, are seeking applications from fintechs for the next session of their joint Finlabs program.

Finlabs is designed to scout out potential fintech partners and “launch transformative and experience-driven products for customers,” the San Francisco-based Bank of the West said Friday.

The program is seeking growth-stage fintech firms to work with several of the two banks' business lines. Applications are due by mid-May.

"We will further tap into Silicon Valley's innovative spirit to benefit more of our customers," said Nandita Bakhshi, president and CEO at Bank of the West.


After the application period, line of business heads will meet with a shortlist of applicants for one-on-one pitch meetings, from which up to 10 pilots will be selected for partnership. The program will then officially kick off with an onboarding event in June, and the fintechs that make the cut will then have the opportunity to test products directly with customers.

Such events have become more commonplace in the financial industry, as banks increasingly look to fintech firms as a source of partnerships and being able to quickly introduce innovative new digital products to customers.

"We are fortunate to be part of a community with some of the world's most forward-thinking innovators,” Nandita Bakhshi, president and CEO of Bank of the West, said in a press release. “By expanding our successful Finlabs program, we will further tap into Silicon Valley's innovative spirit to benefit more of our customers."

The program this year is expanding across all Bank of the West business lines. By next January, Finlabs' existing pilots will be evaluated to select which companies will continue on.

"This program taps the talent and innovative ideas of entrepreneurs to the benefit of the bank's customers," Rena Zuabi, head of innovation programs at L'Atelier BNP Paribas Americas, said in the release. "We are proud of what the Finlabs program has accomplished within the bank's commercial banking group, and are thrilled to grow our efforts across the organization."

Bryan Yurcan

Bryan Yurcan

Bryan Yurcan is a senior writer with American Banker, with a focus on financial technology.