ICBA joins list of banking trade groups backing fintechs

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Another bank trade association is throwing its financial support behind a fintech with the goal of spreading technology to its members.

The Independent Community Bankers of America provided funding to Teslar Software, which supplies community banks with a platform to better manage data from different internal systems. The funding brings Teslar's total seed round to $2 million.

Teslar, of Springdale, Ark., is the first fintech to benefit from the ICBA’s accelerator program. The startup said the funding will contribute to the company’s growth as it seeks to double community bank partnerships in the next year.

“This will give us the ability to reach out to more institutions, take their feedback and enhance what we’re building not just for today, but will help out banks for many years to come,” Joe Ehrhardt, founder and CEO of Teslar, told American Banker in an interview.

The American Bankers Association earlier this year made an investment in the alternative core banking provider Finxact. Last year the ABA invested in Summit Technology Group, a cloud computing provider.

Teslar was one of eight early-stage fintechs that participated in the ICBA’s accelerator in Little Rock, Ark., which the group launched last year. Teslar’s demo won a banker’s choice award for “most impactful solution.”

Ehrhardt said Teslar’s system is a platform that helps community banks manage data from deposit and lending systems so that employees can improve customer service on the front end.

“Once you get above $100 billion in assets, that’s where banking can sometimes become a commodity,” Ehrhardt said. “So how we try to look at it is how can we help community banks be as effective and efficient as the big banks without turning banking into a commodity.”

Ehrhardt declined to reveal how many institutions it works with, other than to say they range from $50 million and $50 billion in assets.

The ICBA launched the accelerator program in November as a way to connect fintechs with community banks that are seeking to introduce or upgrade digital products.

The community banker group said it was “impressed with Teslar’s banking background and their platform’s capabilities to aid community bank business processes and data requirements during the accelerator program.”

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