Banks Are Innovating and Small Business Owners Will Benefit

2 min read • May 14, 2014 • Ty Kiisel

Bankers aren’t known for being incredible innovators, but one bank BBVA Compass, has been shaking up the status quo for the last few months and if others follow their lead, it will be good for small business owners.

So what exactly has BBVA Compass done that is so earth shaking?

  1. In February BBVA Compass purchased digital banking startup, Simple: I believe a traditional lender like BBVA purchasing an online lender startup like Simple is taking a major step out into the darkness for a big bank. Being innovative requires an honest look at the market, identifying strengths and weaknesses within your organization, understanding what your customers are looking for, and creating (or in this case buying) a solution you think will meet the need. There is no question online lenders are doing a better job right now at filling the financing needs of the smallest small business owners. They’re geared up to deal with the smaller loan amounts, they’re able to turn loan applications faster, and they’re able to make less-than-perfect borrowers profitable. The purchase of Simple by BBVA is an innovative move in my opinion and potentially good news for small business owners.
  2. BBVA Compass last week announced a partnership with alternative lender OnDeck: Arguably one of the big boys in alternative lending, OnDeck has enjoyed it’s own share of positive press over the last few months. As one of the lenders on the Lendio network, we’re well aware of their capabilities in the ACH and MCA lending space. This partnership is a very innovative way for BBVA Compass to offer more options to their small business loan customers who might not qualify for a traditional loan and gives them a great entree into the world of two very popular alternative loan options. I think this is innovative thinking and ultimately good for small business borrowers.
  3. It was reported today that BBVA Compass is poaching top digital bankers from Capital One and SunTrust: Although BBVA is making great strides in online banking, they’re not satisfied. “Our goal is to help clients and prospective clients feel more in control of their financial lives,” said Jeff Dennes, the new head of Digital Banking at BBVA. Although their focus includes consumer banking initiatives, I suspect the future includes streamlining how they work with small business owners too. Their digital push, as reported in the press even includes coverage in American Banker—a very traditional voice within a very traditional industry.

I get excited when Dennes starts making comparisons to and Paypal. The Folks at BBVA Compass really are headed in the right direction from a customer experience perspective. And, looking at online banking as a valuable part of the bank’s business now, is sure to help them stay relevant in years to come.


Ty Kiisel

Small business evangelist and veteran of over 30 years in the trenches of Main Street business, Ty makes small business financing and trends accessible in common sense language devoid of the jargon.