A local company’s latest offspring, a firm that aspires to push the frontiers of digital banking, will soon move into its Wilmington headquarters.
Apiture, launched Oct. 1, is a joint venture between Wilmington-based Live Oak Bancshares and Atlanta-based First Data. The new entity, which has chosen to locate in downtown Wilmington, has as its major goal to “provide financial institutions with tools to meet their customers wherever they live in the digital world,” said Chris Cox, president of Apiture and former head of digital banking at First Data.
The company combines Live Oak Bank’s digital banking platforms, products and services with First Data’s online banking tools, which it enhanced with the acquisition of FundsXpress 10 years ago. Each of Apiture’s parents owns a 50 percent share in the new company.
Apiture’s digital systems will make it easier for consumers and businesses to manage such transactions as digital bill payments, balance inquiries, fund transfers and mobile check deposits, company officials said.
The company’s tools will be “mobile-focused, user-centric, flexible, convenient and secure,” Cox said.
Flexibility means that financial institutions can customize websites and mobile applications in a cost-effective way, officials said.
Cox said banks and credit unions of all sizes will rely increasingly on digital channels to attract and serve customers. Currently, those digital channels consist primarily of websites and mobile applications. In the future, he said, banking also will likely use technologies such as voice-recognition software and virtual personal assistants.
In the news release that announced the formation of Apiture (which draws its name from application programming interfaces, or APIs), Live Oak CEO and chairman James “Chip” Mahan said “Apiture will play a big role in shaping the future of our industry.”
Cox expects the new company to move into its new headquarters – the 12,000-square-foot fifth floor of the Bank of America building at 319 N. Third St. – in early 2018. It will start with 30 to 40 employees but increase its workforce to more than 100 over the next year, he said.
The company president believes Apiture will be able to recruit to Wilmington the employees it needs, explaining that work for the new joint venture represents a “unique opportunity to join a company … that will disrupt the existing market.
Cox plans to “cast a wide net to attract the best talent,” leveraging Live Oak’s network and reputation, employing social media to broaden Apiture’s recruiting outreach and establishing long-term relationships with key individuals at University of North Carolina campuses.
Although Live Oak Bancshares is a parent of Apiture, the latter is an independent entity, Cox said. And while banking software company nCino shares Live Oak roots, it too is now an independent company and not connected to Apiture. But the presence of the three entities, which are related through some common founders and some common investors, will “raise the fintech profile” of Wilmington, Cox said.