The area’s financial tech footprint took a substantial step up in 2017, largely because of projects with their roots tying back to Wilmington-based Live Oak Bank.
Live Oak, the only public company headquartered locally, operates outside the traditional bank model. A lender without branches that relies on the technology it helped develop to interact with small-business customers across the country, the bank expanded its focus this year in targeting additional niche industries and launching new products.
In November, Live Oak Bancshares’ stock closed at $26 per share on the Nasdaq exchange, giving the company a market capitalization of slightly over the $1 billion mark
The banking company this year added seven new verticals: five in the specific industries of tax credit leasing for renewable energy projects, early education services, senior care, professional services and auto care and two for lending to existing customers for mergers and acquisitions and financing for equipment leasing.
In October, Live Oak closed on a joint venture with First Data to create a new company called Apiture
that will be based in Wilmington and operate in the digital banking space.
Live Oak brings the work it has done on an initiative it dubbed “Acorn,” designed to bring innovation to merchant services, online banking and bill payment products and services. Atlanta- based First Data supplies the online banking tools, which stem from the company’s acquisition of FundsXpress 10 years ago.
“With Live Oak’s cloud-based banking technologies, First Data’s digital banking solutions, and the combined research and development of two global leaders in financial services technology, Apiture will accelerate the delivery of new digital banking solutions to the market,” an announcement stated.
Apiture’s digital banking systems include online and mobile platforms designed to make it easier for consumers and businesses to manage such transactions as digital bill payments, balance inquiries, fund transfers, mobile check deposits, according to the release. The goal is to enable financial institutions to provide customized online banking websites and mobile applications.
Officials for the new venture leased the fifth floor of the Bank of America building
, about 12,000 square feet, in downtown Wilmington at 319 N. Third St.
Meanwhile, Live Oak spinoff company nCino has grown further into its own this year, both in the scope of customers for its Bank Operating System and its local workforce size.
nCino’s milestones this year included completing a private equity offering that netted nearly $18 million, entering the international banking market with customers and offices overseas and expanding its offices physically. nCino CEO Pierre Naudé said that nCino’s 170-plus customers include nine of the largest banks in the U.S.
For a list of the Top 10 local business stories of the year, click here.