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Thursday, December 1, 2022

A financial institution that reveals its hand – Impartial Banker

Stacy Watkins (left), president and CEO, and Hilary Nelson (proper), senior vice chairman and director of operations and compliance, on the Las Vegas Strip. Picture by Sammy Tillery

On the subject of supporting outliers within the Las Vegas neighborhood, Lexicon Financial institution is aware of easy methods to play its playing cards.

By Tom Groenfeldt

Lexicon Financial institution

$237.6 million

Las Vegas, Nev.

Lexicon Financial institution in Las Vegas opened its doorways in August 2019, not lengthy earlier than COVID-19 shut down town’s leisure companies.

“It is a Vegas financial institution,” explains Stacy Watkins, who was named president and CEO of the $237.6 million-asset financial institution within the early days of the pandemic. “It was actually impactful for us when the lights on the Strip went out—a really emotional, loopy time. You have got a financial institution that was born out of COVID and will have gone the opposite course however ended up thriving.”

Lexicon Financial institution didn’t wait lengthy to make a splash, sponsoring the 2021 World Collection of Poker. It additionally aimed to seize the gaming market with its Skilled Poker Banking Program, which is open to gamers who’ve participated in no less than one of many World Collection of Poker tournaments.

Skilled gamers’ funds could be unpredictable and may convey elevated regulatory scrutiny, making this a market many banks received’t contact. However as a neighborhood financial institution that’s there to serve the gaming hub of Las Vegas, Lexicon Financial institution welcomes these gamers with open arms.

Its Skilled Poker Participant Program acts as a concierge banking service for qualifying skilled poker gamers who want particular companies like having funds wired forward to their tournaments. It additionally accepts the occasional $1 million or $2 million deposit from profitable gamers.

A pure match

In 2020, six-time World Collection of Poker (WSOP) winner Daniel Negreanus moved his winnings account to Lexicon after one other monetary establishment closed his account—a growth the neighborhood financial institution addressed in a press launch.

Fast Stat


The gross gaming income of the playing trade within the U.S. in 2021

Supply: Statista

“With banking roots within the mecca of gaming for poker, serving as a banking companion for skilled poker gamers was a pure match for Lexicon Financial institution,” stated Russell Rosenblum, chairman of the board and a poker fanatic, within the press launch. “Our financial institution has direct contact with the poker neighborhood by way of private relationships, enterprise partnerships and neighborhood endeavors.”

These poker deposits, like all others on the financial institution, undergo anti-money laundering screening by software program linked to the financial institution’s core system. However the basic danger administration within the financial institution’s skilled poker program is old school Know Your Buyer, performed by folks.

“The taking part gamers signal a contract acknowledging that we’re going to ask them questions and so they must be forthcoming,” explains Hilary Nelson, SVP and director of operations and compliance. “We wish to know our prospects rather well. What’s good is that the World Collection of Poker publishes an inventory of anybody who performs, and we study what number of different tournaments they play in across the world.”

That in-depth buyer data isn’t only for regulatory necessities or to manage danger; it additionally permits the neighborhood financial institution to offer different companies.

“If knowledgeable participant calls and so they want one thing that we’re not in a position to do, we attempt to get them linked with somebody that may,” Nelson says. “We all know who they’re, we all know what their transactions usually appear like and we are able to join them with anyone who may also help.”

With many being poker fans themselves, the crew at Lexicon Financial institution is aware of easy methods to serve their clientele.

A small-business pipeline

Whereas Lexicon Financial institution doesn’t supply shopper or mortgage lending, it does do small enterprise lending, which fits its market. A number of poker gamers personal companies and have introduced over these accounts to Lexicon. As well as, poker gamers have really useful different gamers and small enterprise homeowners to the financial institution.

One instance of this was a surgeon who deliberate to arrange a surgical middle however had little enterprise expertise, so he got here to Lexicon for help. “We rapidly launched him to our dealer, service provider service processing and payroll processing, and linked him to our insurance coverage dealer,” Watkins says. “As a concierge financial institution, we have been in a position to present these value-added companies that don’t have a charge schedule. So we would not be getting $5 or $25 for that, however we’re getting a relationship, a deposit account and probably a business mortgage down the highway. We’re centered on the larger image.”

“We do have authorized companies and industries that make Las Vegas thrive. We now have discovered a strategy to service that and get the regulators snug. I imply, that’s what a neighborhood financial institution does.”
—Stacy Watkins, president and CEO, Lexicon Financial institution

Staying above board

With a big 14-member board of administrators who know, and sometimes personal, native companies, Lexicon has an area crew that may make lending choices quick, whereas exterior banks can steadily be caught with rigid underwriting guidelines from headquarters.

“We do have authorized companies and industries that make Las Vegas thrive,” says Watkins. “We now have discovered a strategy to service that and get the regulators snug. I imply, that’s what a neighborhood financial institution does.”

Officers at banks restricted by inflexible insurance policies usually advocate Lexicon to purchasers they will’t settle for, and Lexicon will take them on if they’re authorized, if the financial institution has a strategy to monitor them operationally and in the event that they align with the financial institution’s strategic course.

When a director from the World Collection of Poker known as the financial institution chairman on a Sunday afternoon, he looped in Watkins and so they deliberate for her and one other crew member to be on the financial institution at 8 a.m. Monday, earlier than common hours, to open an account in time for the shopper to catch a flight.

“I met with them and the banker on the department, and we have been in a position to facilitate that account,” Watkins says. “It’s value a number of million {dollars} due to that concierge expertise.”

“We now have companies who say they wish to financial institution with us as a result of they wish to give their greenback to a financial institution that’s doing one thing for the neighborhood.”

Tom Groenfeldt is a author in Wisconsin.

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