On October 20, Houston-based Agility Bank (in organization) announced that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. have given conditional approval for its application to launch and operate a predominately digital community bank that is primarily owned and led by women. Agility Bank will begin raising $30 million in capital immediately and expects final regulatory approval and opening in the second quarter of 2021.
Agility Bank will specialize in commercial lending to all Houston-region small- and mid-sized businesses in growth sectors, including medical and life sciences, commercial and residential real estate, technology, industrial businesses and manufacturing. The bank also anticipates providing services to owner-managed companies, their employees and other professionals.
“After 37 years in community banking, I saw an opportunity to redefine the profile of a commercial community bank with astute women playing major roles working alongside with their male counterparts,” says Lauren Sparks, founder, chair and CEO. “Now more than ever, business owners will be seeking new ways to operate as they look to create growth in the Houston region. We need all of the best minds and technology at the table.”
“Our bank will combine local knowledge and deep community connections with technology-driven services to help these businesses create impact, efficiency and leave a positive imprint,” Sparks adds. “Beyond the challenges in our immediate future, greater Houston is poised for another wave of innovation and growth. We look forward to helping our region’s business owners who want to be a part of this next economic resurgence.”
“Our country—in fact, our city—is at a real tipping point in the economic power of women,” Sparks observes. “We want to ensure that we nurture that growth, certainly along with that of all business owners. In addition, our goal is to increase the pipeline of women who are prepared to move up through the ranks at financial institutions.”
Sparks began her career as a community banker and in 2009 founded 3PR Inc., a consulting firm providing compliance, risk management and technology services to community banks and financial services firms. Joining Sparks on the leadership team will be Terry Harrison, chief financial officer, who has deep experience in community banking, including the formation of two de novo banks.
Agility Bank plans to open its first location at 2401 N. Shepherd in the Heights area of Houston in the second quarter of 2021.