Tips for Start-up Banking Companies, by Rhett B. Rowe

A start-up banking company’s early investments can mean the difference between a strong start that carries it far into the future, or a stumble that causes it to fold within the first year or two of operation. Business-service technology investments are one such crucial investment. Focus on technologies that will grow with the company rather than ones that must be shed in order to evolve. For example, develop a robust online banking platform that combines an accessible user interface with a plethora of options that allow clients to complete most, if not all, of their banking tasks remotely.

One common mistake is to open two full-service branches right out of the gate. Two full-service branches require two sets of experienced personnel and more management oversight than is affordable to give as a start-up. Finally, start-ups should also consider loans a risky investment. In periods of economic turbulence, many clients might find themselves unable to pay their loans. Instead, focus business development on acquiring low-cost deposits.

About the author: Rhett B. Rowe serves Global Wave Group as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of National Accounts, which entails building new client relationships using rapid-process loan processing software.


In 2010, Rhett Rowe was hired by KeyBank as Senior Vice President. Responsible for its commercial banking sector, Rowe introduced a new sales culture, increased sales revenue by $5 million, and obtained the largest account in the institution’s history. In recognition of his accomplishments, Rowe earned the firm’s National 2010 Rookie of the Year Award as well as the Extraordinary Leadership Award.

Based in Cleveland, KeyBank provides community banking in 14 states and offers corporate banking throughout the country. Possessing a network of more than 1,500 automatic teller machines and more than 1,000 physical locations, KeyBank manages close to $87 billion in assets.

KeyBank performs a myriad of services for its clients. Its everyday banking options include checking, debit cards, savings accounts, travelers’ cheques, and gift cards. People can apply for student, home equity, automobile, boat, or RV loans though the entity. The company also advises on investing in annuities, mutual funds, or cash and cash equivalents. Additionally, KeyBank places a heavy emphasis on community involvement, and it encourages volunteerism, civic leadership, and other philanthropic endeavors.