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A financial institution that reveals its hand – Unbiased 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

With regards to supporting outliers within the Las Vegas neighborhood, Lexicon Financial institution is aware of play its playing cards.

By Tom Groenfeldt


Identify:
Lexicon Financial institution

Belongings:
$237.6 million

Location:
Las Vegas, Nev.

Lexicon Financial institution in Las Vegas opened its doorways in August 2019, not lengthy earlier than COVID-19 shut down the 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 route however ended up thriving.”

Lexicon Financial institution didn’t wait lengthy to make a splash, sponsoring the 2021 World Sequence 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 at the least one of many World Sequence of Poker tournaments.

Skilled gamers’ funds could be unpredictable and might carry elevated regulatory scrutiny, making this a market many banks gained’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 Sequence of Poker (WSOP) winner Daniel Negreanus moved his winnings account to Lexicon after one other monetary establishment closed his account—a improvement the neighborhood financial institution addressed in a press launch.

Fast Stat

$52B+

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 associate for skilled poker gamers was a pure match for Lexicon Financial institution,” mentioned Russell Rosenblum, chairman of the board and a poker fanatic, within the press launch. “Our financial institution has direct contact with the poker neighborhood via 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 style Know Your Buyer, finished by folks.

“The collaborating gamers signal a contract acknowledging that we’re going to ask them questions they usually have to be forthcoming,” explains Hilary Nelson, SVP and director of operations and compliance. “We prefer to know our clients rather well. What’s good is that the World Sequence of Poker publishes a listing of anybody who performs, and we be taught 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 supply different companies.

“If an expert participant calls they usually want one thing that we’re not in a position to do, we attempt to get them related 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 lovers themselves, the group at Lexicon Financial institution is aware of serve their clientele.


A small-business pipeline

Whereas Lexicon Financial institution doesn’t supply client 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 beneficial different gamers and small enterprise house owners 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 shortly 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 had been in a position to present these value-added companies that don’t have a price schedule. So we would not be getting $5 or $25 for that, however we’re getting a relationship, a deposit account and probably a industrial mortgage down the highway. We’re targeted on the larger image.”

“We do have authorized companies and industries that make Las Vegas thrive. We have now discovered a technique 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 infrequently personal, native companies, Lexicon has a neighborhood group that may make lending selections quick, whereas outdoors banks can often be caught with rigid underwriting guidelines from headquarters.

“We do have authorized companies and industries that make Las Vegas thrive,” says Watkins. “We have now discovered a technique 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 suggest Lexicon to purchasers they’ll’t settle for, and Lexicon will take them on if they’re authorized, if the financial institution has a technique to monitor them operationally and in the event that they align with the financial institution’s strategic route.

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

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

“We have now 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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