Note from the Publisher: I used to travel to Kansas when I first entered the business world to cover a sales territory based out of Chicago. It’s part of the “Midwest territory”, and I regularly visited Kansas City, Wichita and Topeka, but I must say, I’ve never been to Weir, KS. And yet, this tiny town of 600+ is home to a transplanted Google engineer and his Wall Street banker wife who acquired 124-year old CBW Bank – understandably the only bank in town – when they moved to Kansas in 2008. As one can imagine, the bank was utilizing antiquated systems, and they systematically overhauled the bank’s systems and in the process, turned it into a magnet for other fintech start-ups. Fascinating read.
“An ex-Google engineer is reimagining banking for the digital age.
Few people have probably ever heard of Weir, Kansas: population 661, the place where the flyswatter was invented in 1906, and these days, a major hub for financial technology innovation.
That’s largely due to the efforts of Suresh Ramamurthi, an ex-Google engineer, and his wife Suchitra Padmanabhan, a former Wall Street banker turned fund manager in Topeka. Three years after moving to Kansas, the pair used their own savings to purchase the 124-year-old CBW Bank, Weir’s sole financial institution. It was 2008, the height of the financial crisis, and CBW — then called Citizens Bank of Weir — was under orders from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) to cease operations due to inadequate capital reserves, ballooning levels of bad loans, and internal fraud.
Not only did the couple get the bank back in operation by the following year, they transformed it into a place of real innovation. Over the last few years, the bank has become a secret weapon for other fintech companies, which rely on both its technology and status as a state-chartered bank to build their own businesses.”