Arizona de novo would cater to underbanked

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A group in Scottsdale, Ariz., has applied to open a bank.

Organizers of Verdigris Bank submitted an application with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Thursday seeking deposit insurance. The application wasn’t immediately available.

“Verdigris is building a new bank and technology company dedicated to serving low- and moderate-income consumers and the businesses that serve them,” organizers said on the proposed bank’s website.

“We intend to provide low-cost and transparent banking services that profitably bring underserved communities into the financial mainstream,” they added. “Our platform uses virtual versions of leading banking systems to provide an up-to-date, accessible and approachable product for our customers and employees.”

Verdigris, which is looking to raise $50 million in capital, would be an online-only, special-purpose bank, spokesman Mark Martin said.

Martin said organizers are moving ahead with a pilot program backed by an unnamed bank. The pilot, which will involve 200 Arizona residents, will begin next month. Verdigris Bank would take over from the other bank when it secures deposit insurance.

"We want to make sure we’re doing it 100% right," Martin said of the pilot. "We want to make sure our technology and processes are completely dialed in."

The plan is to offer online banking, funds transfers and a debit card, Martin said. The proposed bank, which would expand by working with community groups, has no plans to become a lender.

The group plans to offer personal digital banking and business banking. The proposed bank would also handle economic support payments from Arizona agencies, the website said.

Michael Coghlan is set to become the bank’s CEO. He once was chief information officer at Lloyds International and a managing director and global chief operating officer at Limehouse Consulting.

Verdigris announced plans in September to move to Scottsdale from Cleveland. It expects to hire 210 people over the next three years.

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