Starting a bank can be a very lucrative business venture. There are a few key things to keep in mind when starting a bank. Here are the ten steps to build a bank.
Ten Steps to Launching a New Bank
1. Choose Your Type of Bank Business
The first step in launching a bank is to identify the type of business you want to launch. You might choose from the following types among others:
- Commercial banks
- Savings and loan associations
- Credit unions
- Investment banks
Learn more about the types of bank businesses.
2. Name Your Bank
Give your bank an identity so people will consider it a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your bank business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your own name, among other options.
The main goal of naming your bank is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so that potential customers will be willing to do business with you.
3. Determine Your Bank Business Model
There are several possible types of business models for a bank business including:
- Online banking
- Mobile banking
- Brick and mortar (physical locations)
- Virtual banks without any physical locations
No matter which model you choose, ensure it aligns with your business goals, products, and services.
Read more about choosing the right business model for your bank business.
4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business
By incorporating your bank business, you will limit your liability. You can incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a C Corporation (C-Corp), or an S Corporation (S-Corp). Or you can operate as a sole proprietorship.
The business structure you choose for your bank will determine the taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.
Read our article comparing the most common bank business structures.
5. Write a Bank Business Plan
All bank business owners should develop a business plan.
A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or lenders, as well as to guide the day-to-day operations of the business. The business plan should include information on the company’s products or services, market analysis, financial projections, and management team.
When developing your bank business plan and strategy, you should think about the following questions your customers might have:
- What services does your bank offer?
- Are you a brick-and-mortar bank or an online-only bank?
- What are the hours of operation for your bank?
- Is my money insured if it’s deposited with your bank?
- How do I open a checking or savings account with your bank?
- What is the minimum deposit required to open an account with your bank?
- What are the fees associated with your bank’s products and services?
- What is the interest rate on your bank’s savings account?
- Can I use my debit card at any ATM or just ones affiliated with your bank?
- How can I reach customer service if I have questions or problems?
- What are the qualifications for getting a loan from your bank?
- What is the interest rate on loans from your bank?
- How long does it take to get approved for a loan from your bank?
- Can I use my credit card at any ATM or just one affiliated with your bank?
- How do I make a deposit at your bank?
- How do I make a withdrawal from my account at your bank?
- What is the routing number for your bank?
- What is the process for closing my account at your bank?
Answering these questions in your business plan will give you a solid foundation for developing your bank business.
Read our article about how to write a bank business plan.
6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses
You may need to obtain required licenses and permits before launching your bank business.
For example, you’ll need to obtain a charter from the state banking commission to legally operate as a bank. The requirements for obtaining a bank charter vary by state, but generally, you’ll need to have a certain amount of capital, submit financial statements, and pass a background check.
You must also register your bank business as a legal entity with the state where you plan to do business. You can simply file an online form through your Secretary of State website.
Registering with the federal government is also essential so you can properly pay taxes for your business. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for at the IRS website, if you plan to hire employees.
Read our article about obtaining the proper bank business licenses.
7. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed
In developing your bank business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.
If you have your own funds to invest in your bank business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your bank business include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.
Read our article about the costs associated with starting a bank business to help you determine if funding is needed.
8. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently
When you start your bank business, it’s essential to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. You need a computer with Internet access, and accounting software for tracking expenses and revenues.
You may also want to invest in customer relationship management (CRM) software to help you manage your interactions with customers and prospects. There are many CRM software options available, so do some research to find the one that’s right for your business.
You may also need bank-specific software like teller management systems and loan origination systems. Some banks develop their own software in-house, while others outsource the development to third-party providers.
9. Market Your Bank Business to Potential Customers
Before selling your products and services, you must let the world know you exist. The first step is to create a website so people can learn more about your products and services and how they benefit them.
After you launch your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook and LinkedIn. Also, consider networking with other people in the bank industry through social media and blogs so they can help share your business.
You also need to start gathering the materials needed to execute on your promotions strategy, which is your strategy for attracting new customers. Bank businesses should consider the following promotional strategies.
- Sponsor a charity event or fundraiser.
- Give out free samples of your products or services.
- Hold a contest or giveaway on your website or social media pages.
- Create a blog or video series for your target audience about relevant banking and finance topics.
- Provide financial education resources on your website or blog.
- Speak at local business events or conferences about topics related to banking and finance.
- Advertise in local publications or through online channels that reach your target market.
- Get involved with local chambers of commerce or other business networking groups.
Read our article about how to market your bank business for more tips.
10. Get New Customers & Grow Your Business
When you promote your products and services, you’ll start to get interest from potential customers.
Make sure you’re ready to serve these customers. Also, be sure to establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs. And be sure to find and train the right people to help you grow your bank business.
Read our article about how to effectively grow your bank business to learn more.
Starting a Bank Business FAQs
Why Start a Bank Business?
There are many reasons to start a bank business. First, banks play an important role in the economy by providing capital for businesses and individuals to grow and invest. Second, banks can be profitable businesses. And third, starting a bank allows you to be your own boss and build something that you're passionate about.
How Can I Market a Bank Business Online?
There are many ways to market a bank business online. First, you can create a website that provides information about your products and services and how they benefit customers. You can also promote your website through social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Additionally, you can participate in online forums and blogging communities related to banking and finance. And finally, you can advertise in online publications that reach your target market.
What are Some Tips for Starting a Bank Business?
Here are some tips for starting a bank business:
- Research the banking industry to clearly understand what customers are looking for.
- Create a well-thought-out business plan that includes your marketing strategy, technology needs, and financial projections.
- Find the right location for your bank branch or ATM.
- Invest in the right technology to provide a superior customer experience.
- Train your employees on excellent customer service and product knowledge.
- Promote your products and services through social media, online advertising, and PR campaigns.
- Focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience.
- Measure your results and adjust your plans accordingly.
- Get involved with local chambers of commerce and business networking groups.
- Seek out advice from experienced bankers and financial professionals.
Where Can I Find a Simple Checklist for Starting a Bank Business?
A simple checklist to use when starting a bank business is as follows:
- Choose Your Type of Bank Business: This should be based on what you are best at and how much experience you have. Remember to keep your interests, skills, and experience in mind at all times.
- Name Your Bank: This should be done with care, as your brand is important for attracting the right customers. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
- Choose a Legal Form for Your Business: Whether you choose to become a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation or another option will depend on your business. Ensure that you are aware of all the implications of each type.
- Determine Your Bank Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
- Write a Bank Business Plan: Your business plan will also help you determine what your start-up costs will be and will provide a roadmap with which you can launch and grow.
- Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses: In most locations you will be required to apply for a business license and permits before you can begin operations.
- Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed: You will need to know how much money you have to spend on all of your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
- Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently: You need the right tools to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
- Market Your Bank Business to Potential Customers: A solid marketing plan will be crucial to your success. It should focus on attracting the right customers so that you can provide them with the products and services they truly need.
- Get Customers & Grow Your Business: Once you have a solid marketing plan, it's time to actively pursue and secure those who could benefit the most from your products and services.
Starting a bank business can be a complex process. Creating a detailed business plan and investing in the right technology can set your bank up for success. Don’t forget to focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience; that’s what will help you stand out from competitors.