Florida Bank Seeks Approval for Latest Digital-First Launch

21. March 2021.

A Florida-based bank is seeking to become the latest digital-first community banking entity as the shift online across the industry gathers pace.

Locality Bank has filed applications to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and State of Florida for banking charters and deposit insurance, according to a press release issued late last week.

The new bank has been set up by Keith Costello, former president and CEO of First Green Bank, an Orlando-based company that was sold to fellow Floridian group Seacoast Banking Corp in 2018.

“Especially during the pandemic, we realized there were not enough community banks in South Florida and now we want to launch one that will be atypical,” said Costello, who is to be CEO of Locality.

“Our goal is to provide local businesses with the best of what a traditional community bank can offer while differentiating with cutting edge technology.”

Once regulatory approval is received, the bank plans to open an office in Fort Lauderdale with a focus on small and midsize businesses in south Florida.

Corey LeBlanc, who is set to be Locality’s chief operating officer and chief technology officer, said: “The challenges faced by local businesses today are incredibly complex.

“We are creating an environment that helps remove the burden of banking for our customers and allows them to do more of what they love: running their businesses. In accomplishing this mission, the bank will be contributing to job creation and help fuel economic growth while building a better future in the communities it serves.”

In its press release, the bank said technology would be “a focal point” of its aim to “create a friendly and efficient user experience”.

Community banks flourished last year during the pandemic as smaller businesses sought financial support through initiatives such as the Paycheck Protection Program.

Companies such as Cogent Bank in Florida and Cross River Bank in New Jersey built on the government-backed loan programs to entice new customers away from larger banks through improved customer service and digital offerings.

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