Build Wealth by Starting Your Own Personal Bank

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How to Open a Bank

Two Parts:

Banking is a difficult industry to join. However, many community-oriented banks are opening across the country. With a little careful planning, the task of opening a bank might not be as impossible as you think.


Getting Started

  1. Determine a need.Why are you opening a bank? Are there local community banks in your area? Any business will only succeed if there is a market. People in the area need the product you are trying to sell them.
  2. Appoint a board of directors.Typically, this is five to thirteen people. The board of directors oversees the strategic plan of the bank, and makes sure employees at all levels comply with company policies and federal regulations.
    • Board members should not be directly involved with the bank, and a few should have previous banking experience.
    • Appoint a few members over the regulation level in case someone drops out for any reason.
  3. Make sure you have the starting capital.This amount can run anywhere from 12 to 20 million dollars.This money can come from various places. If your board of directors are community business owners, they might be willing to invest the money. Other sources of capital include private equity funds, founders groups, a bank holding company, supporting financial institutions, and special funding available for community banks.
    • Starting capital ensures all the banks operations and gives the bank a certain amount of collateral.
    • Capital guidelines are found through the primary regulator, either Federal Reserve, FDIC, or OCC.
  4. Create a business summary plan.A financial projection is required during the charter application process. This may require a three to five year business plan and projection.
    • You need to demonstrate that a new bank would profit. Showing the plans for growth shows investors what they can expect as a return on their investment (ROI).
    • Before you can open a bank, you have to prove you've done research into your competitor's businesses and that you can either come up with a comparable product or somehow provide a beneficial service no one else has thought up yet.
  5. Hire a legal team.Opening a bank can be a very arduous and confusing process with many legal regulations that must be followed and applications that must be filed. Hiring someone familiar with this process can expedite your preparations and help you cover all your bases.
  6. Establish a risk management infrastructure.This must be done before the bank is opened. A risk management structure "identifies, measures, monitors, and controls the risks involved in an institution's various products and lines. These risks include, but are not limited to, credit, market, liquidity, operational, legal, and reputational risk."Hire the best people who know how to assess for risk and keep policy and procedures in place that keep your employees aware of the next scheme, fraud, or bad decision.
  7. Hire a public face.A community reinvestment specialist responds when your bank is called to show how the bank is contributing to the community. They must be knowledgeable of the rules and regulations in place and be able to respond appropriately to concerns for the bank. They must also report in their meetings with you the ways in which the bank would be appropriately steered toward investment efforts.
  8. Apply for all charters.These include both federal and state legal charters. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency grants federal documents. You can find a list and instructions . The state can issue the state charter.
    • A bank must also be approved for deposit insurance by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Making It Happen

  1. Find a place.Now that you have completed all the initial steps and gotten your bank approved, you need to find a suitable place. It's of vital important for you to familiarize yourself with all potential customers and competitors around you.
    • Find a place with smooth traffic.
    • Choose a position with a great deal of markets and residential buildings.
    • Seek out a location with other competitive bank as little as possible.
  2. Purchase the space.Since you have found an appropriate place, you need a place to establish your bank. Make sure there is enough room for:
    • At least three personal banker offices
    • A seating area
    • An inside teller area
    • A drive-thru teller
    • A vault. This can be accessible to both the tellers and deposit box customers, or the bank can house separate vaults. The vault needs to be far into the bank, not near the door.
    • An internal and an external ATM
    • A security guard station
  3. Come up with an elevator speech.An elevator speech is a less than 30-seconds pitch that just rolls off your tongue. When someone asks you what you do, you should be able to recite this from memory, with feeling and gusto, and convince them they need this product too. You are going to have to spread the word about your bank.
  4. Establish the appropriate relationships.Work with money transportation specialty companies, such as armored car services, as well as any governing bodies, such as regulators.
  5. Establish what the bank will offer.Doing an analysis of your community and its demographics can help you determine what services the bank should offer. If you are striving for a community bank approach, offer:
    • Checking
    • Savings
    • Mortgage Loans
    • Small Business Loans
    • Investment and Planning
    • CDs and other short/long-term savings methods
    • If you are striving for a larger industrial bank, to the above options you will add:
    • Private wealth and investment management
    • Commercial loans - small (less than Million), mid (between Million and Million) and large Targets (above Million in revenue)
    • Commercial DDAs
    • International Banking
  6. Monitor your cashflow.Always have between 10-20% of your overall money held in reserve, as a protection for the worst events.
  7. Invest in your community.Growing the money means spending the money. Your bank customers depend upon you to know when to apply the money to a construction loan for a new hospital and when to put the money into a growing investment. Risk is always a factor, but knowing what is an acceptable risk is part of the game.
  8. Establish an online banking option.Many people do their banking online, so an online banking system is necessary for running a successful bank.
  9. Hire excellent employees.For many banks starting out, reputation and word of mouth is pivotal in their survival. Having competent bankers with strong financial and banking backgrounds gives the customers confidence when placing their money. Placing friendly tellers with excellent customer service skills leaves a lasting impression on the customers, making them want to return.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Is a bank a profitable business?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If the bank turns out well, it can turn out to be a VERY profitable business, However, keep in mind that there is lots of competition from experienced banks that have been around for longer. Also, if you want to start a new bank from scratch, you need to have a lot of money.
  • Question
    How much should I budget to establish a bank?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It depends. You'll need enough money to buy a venue, but if you're running investments and loans you could begin by opening the investment accounts, and use these investments to provide money for loans later on down the line.
Unanswered Questions
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  • Have officers from the bank make it a regular practice to go to the high schools and elementary schools in the community to teach the next generation the importance of savings and investments. This gets your bank involved in the community and helps build a reputation.
  • Try to have a regional overseer financial group that monitors all other groups’ efforts. Have that group report up to you. Checks and balances are important and establish the important trust between your bank and the community investing with you.
  • Take it global. Introducing your company to the public means garnering more money, as people are willing to purchase stock in your company.

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Sources and Citations

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Views: 185,560

Sanathoi Wangkhem

Jul 18

"I learned more than ever before."

Rosemond Opare-Kumi

Jul 9

"Very informative and clear steps to follow. I have the initial guidance I need to open my banks."

Okafor Chukwuamaka

Jul 3

"Very educational and highly motivating."

Crystal Carpenter

May 11

"The entire process of starting my own bank, from the beginning, the best part is that there's no where for me andmy bank to go is up! :) Thanks a bunch!"

Mandlenkosi Paul Muhlwa

Mar 6, 2019

"It is really difficult to get info like this. It is helpful to know what one needs to do and how to do it. In thisage, we need a playing field that competition forces the more established banks to be a lot more responsible and be held accountable when they don't do well. I know what to do, and am grateful to you for providing the information. Thankfully, I know what to do with it."

S. H.

Jun 22, 2019

"The whole article was helpful. I like the part about the schools, investing in your community, helping fund a newhospital, it's all about investing in people, to my credit scoring (bad). It's the small business ability to pay back the loan, not the credit score."

Eduardo Rodriguez

Feb 28, 2019

"I am a inspired entrepreneur and am researching what companies I can start up. Am thinking big, and this post hashelped and put my mind at ease, thanks. "

Jewel Crawford

Mar 3, 2019

"This really simplified what I'm sure is a complex process, but it lets people know it can be done and we don't haveto be exploited by big banks."


Jul 2, 2019

"This article is the best one I have gotten for support and for getting 500% confidence to move ahead in my bankingproject. "

Bhargesh Thakur

Jun 15, 2019

"Explained very clearly, good to learn for those who want to become businessman in banking."

Natasha Isnatus

Sep 5, 2019

"I honestly will like to own my own business one day. It will be a dream come true!"

Gregory Fish

Nov 23, 2019

"Not knowing was not asking questions. That's why I asked wikiHow."

M. M.

Jun 1, 2019

"Much more detail than I expected. Very helpful article!"

Hilda Goredema

May 29, 2019

"Very simple to follow, yet very informative."

Navreet Kaur

Nov 14, 2019

"This article was very good and helpful."

Alonzo Wiggins

Aug 3, 2019

"I'm very pleased. Now to get started!"


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Date: 10.12.2018, 22:37 / Views: 31295