Mastercard venture aims to help small banks keep up in payments

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Three companies have joined forces to help small banks keep up with the fast pace of technological change in payments.

Mastercard, the fintech provider Urban FT and the payment services subsidiary of the Independent Community Bankers of America have launched a card services program called Community Access. It includes setup and compliance, card issuance and fulfillment, instant account opening and cardholder support.

“With Community Access, community banks can truly compete with the bigger, national banks by offering a product that serves their entire communities with tools, features, and support that exceed those provided by the 'too big to fail' crowd,” Richard Steggall, Urban FT’s chief executive, said in a press release Tuesday.

Community Access is another effort from the ICBA to help its members provide more modern digital experiences to their customers.

In November, the ICBA launched a community bank-focused fintech accelerator program in Little Rock, Ark., in partnership with the Venture Center, which specializes in helping startups in the financial services industry.

In turn, those startups can provide services to the ICBA’s member banks. Heather Schumacher, previously the chief operating officer at Sunrise Banks, will oversee the program’s deployment and support in her newly appointed role as COO for Urban FT.

New York-based Urban FT currently provides a white-label digital banking platform to over 700 institutions, most of which are community banks and credit unions.

ICBA Bancard said member banks will benefit from special pricing and incentives through the organization’s partnerships with Urban FT and Mastercard.

“We’re excited to partner with Urban FT, a leader and trusted provider in this space, as we bring innovative solutions to market that offer greater choice and convenience without sacrificing the standard of service for which community banks are known,” ICBA Bancard President and CEO Tina Giorgio said in the press release.

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