FARMINGTON, CONN., July 10—InsurBanc, the federal savings bank developed by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) to serve agents and brokers as well as their clients, has won regulatory approval to expand its operations to 15 additional states—three on a full-service basis and 12 on a limited-service capacity, announces bank CEO Michael Herlihy.
The Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) approved this expansion of services late last month along with a new online agent education program for agents.
“This is a significant milestone in the development of InsurBanc and an affirmation of the commitment made by the IIABA and W.R. Berkley Corporation, partners in the bank, as well as the hundreds of agencies that already are a part of this groundbreaking financial institution,” says Herlihy. “While we are mindful of the challenges that come with expansion, we are confident that InsurBanc will continue to grow and will become the bank of choice for not only independent agents and brokers but also their clients.
“With the OTS approval we are able to begin doing business in the approved states immediately and will launch our brand of banking—called the ‘return of relationship banking’—in these 15 states over the coming months,” explains Herlihy.
InsurBanc’s authority now allows full commercial and consumer banking services to agencies and agency employees in Maine, Rhode Island and Delaware. InsurBanc-trained agents also can make referrals for commercial and consumer banking products. This is the same authority the bank already has in the three states—Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey—where it was permitted to do business when its charter was approved by the OTS in April 2001.
InsurBanc also is granted limited-service authority in a dozen states—Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon and Virginia. Limited-service authority enables the bank to provide full commercial and consumer banking services to agencies and agency employees as well as pay referral fees to agents for the origination of credit card applications and settlement fees for residential mortgages.
“InsurBanc is serving as a catalyst for the growth of the independent agency system,” says IIABA CEO Robert A. Rusbuldt. “Even when InsurBanc was only a concept on paper, many agents and brokers wanted the bank to be available in their states from the start. While we were limited on the initial rollout, InsurBanc resources will now be accessible to a larger number of IIABA member agencies.
“This deep-rooted want is reflective of the business savvy of agents and brokers. They understand that if they are to thrive in today’s competitive financial services marketplace they must be able to provide their clients a range of products and services and have access themselves to financial products that will position their businesses to grow, including working capital lines of credit and agency perpetuation loans,” says Rusbuldt. “InsurBanc is filling an important role for hundreds of agencies and will be partnering with even more IIABA members in the coming months.”
The OTS also approved the bank’s online agent education program. Called the InsurBanc Independent Agent Education Program, this online educational tool will allow agents and brokers to use the Internet to complete the training required for them to be qualified to refer business to the bank. Previously, InsurBanc staff conducted training sessions in person. The new Internet-based educational program uses technology made available through the Big “I” Virtual University.
“Online training will enable agents to train in the comfort of their home or office and allow InsurBanc staff to focus on the agent outreach efforts critical to growing the bank,” says Herlihy.
InsurBanc, officially opened April 30, 2001, has more than $15 million in deposits and $25 million in assets. InsurBanc puts a wide array of consumer and commercial banking products at the disposal of agents and brokers as well as their clients, including all types of consumer loans, credit cards, home equity loans, mortgages, certificates of deposit and money market funds. For business clients, the bank offers working capital lines of credit, commercial term loans, commercial real estate loans and cash management services.
Headquartered in Farmington, Conn., InsurBanc is the operating subsidiary of Peyton Street Independent Financial Services Corporation, a thrift holding company jointly owned by IIABA and W.R. Berkley Corporation and its subsidiaries. Organized in 2001, InsurBanc is a federal savings bank, the deposits of which are insured to applicable limits by the FDIC.
Founded in 1896, IIABA is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com .
Founded in 1967, W. R. Berkley Corporation (NYSE: BER) is an insurance holding company which operates in five segments of the property and casualty insurance business: specialty insurance, alternative markets, reinsurance, regional property casualty insurance, and international.