Wintrust Financial in Chicago has formed a division to focus on the city's start-up community.
The $19 billion-asset company said in a press release Tuesday that Wintrust Ventures will provide financial and advisory services to local technology incubators, angel investors and venture capitalists.
"You can't approach it like traditional bankers," Edward Wehmer, Wintrust's president and chief executive, said in the release. "Standard banking services may work for some, while others are looking for advice or equity partners."
In addition to traditional banking services, the new division will make equity investments in select companies and provide a range of networking opportunities.
The move adds Wintrust to a growing list of banks that have launched business lines to focus on digital innovation. Wells Fargo and Citigroup recently established incubators to foster young fintech companies. Additionally, regional banks such as Eastern Bank in Boston have created innovation labs, inviting entrepreneurs to pitch and develop new business ideas.