Independence Bancshares (IEBS) in Greenville, S.C., is certainly acting like a tech start-up it is rapidly losing money.
Independences's recently hired chief executive, Gordon Baird, plans to transform the $109 million-asset company from a sleepy community bank to a cutting-edge innovator of real-time, mobile banking products. Baird, a former Citigroup (NYSE: C) executive, also brought in Robert Willumstad, a former Citi executive and ex-CEO of AIG, as chairman.
But the moves have cost Independence in the short run; it lost $1 million, or 5 cents a share, in the third-quarter. That compares to a $173,000 loss a year earlier.
Much of the quarterly loss was due to $2 million of noninterest expenses, largely tied to Independence's ambitions to emerge as a tech start-up. The expenses included about $580,000 for "product research and development," Independence said in a regulatory filing Thursday. Another $182,000 went to hiring efforts; in September, Independence brought on two former Verizon Communications veterans.
Independence also spent about $62,000 during the third quarter on "consulting fees," also related to its technology aspirations.
The company has booked about $6.7 million in noninterest expenses through the first nine months of this year, representing a 131% increase from a year earlier.
Such is the cost of aspiring to become a tech titan.
"We really do think we can build the bank into a showcase, marquee bank using this technology," Baird told American Banker earlier this year.