How BankProv switched from community banking to crypto banking

BankProv is almost 200 years old, but it's competing with new banking startups by going after the newest area of finance — crypto.

BankProv’s main office in Amesbury, Massachusetts.

BankProv's main office in Amesbury, Massachusetts hearkens back to its past. But the bank is looking to the future.

Photo: Google Street View

When BankProv was started, horse and buggy was state of the art for moving money. Now it's looking to use bitcoin and ether.

The bank was founded in 1828 as the Provident Bank — a name it kept until last July — and now wants to be a key provider for crypto companies that need banking services.

Crypto companies need traditional banking services for a variety of purposes. But they can face a hard time getting access to financial services, because big institutions may not understand or trust them.

"There's a gap in who will provide banking services for them. They're safe and legal entities," said Carie Kelly, senior vice president of virtual banking at BankProv. "They're tired of hearing 'no' from other institutions."

It's easy for community and regional banks to see nimble neobanks and national online banks just as competitors for deposits and loans. But some instead see an opportunity to work with nonbank fintechs, either as sponsor banks or by providing services to these tech companies.

BankProv, the tenth oldest financial institution in the U.S., is looking to fill those needs with a number of services, from providing traditional business banking services to crypto firms to engaging in new forms of lending backed by crypto deposits and creating a real-time payment network. BankProv's main crypto clients are crypto software and protocol developers, crypto exchanges, crypto mining operators and large investment firms, as well as a few bitcoin ATM companies.

While the crypto industry's regulatory system is tangled and still unresolved, most crypto companies are businesses that need to deal in fiat currency at some point. For that, they need a regulated bank.

While BankProv is smaller than some other competitors in crypto banking such as Silvergate, it's hoping to leverage its long history along with new products to build out its crypto customer base.

BankProv offers banking as a service, offering APIs through startup Treasury Prime to connect with its banking products. There's also traditional business banking — which is used by crypto companies — with services such as deposits, loans, wire and ACH transfers, real-time payments and remote deposit capture. BankProv has seven branches in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and $1.5 billion in total assets and $1.3 billion in total loans in its most recent quarter, according to filings.

With the high volatility and risk involved in crypto, insurance is a selling point. BankProv has unlimited insurance for its deposits through the Depositors Insurance Fund, a Massachusetts-based private insurance company started in 1934 that provides unlimited deposit insurance above the $250,000 FDIC limit. DIF has about $500 million in deposits and is funded by its member banks. That unlimited insurance is appealing to crypto companies that may have some high risk, BankProv COO Joe Mancini said.

In 2020 BankProv released its first crypto loans backed by bitcoin. With this program, businesses can get loans backed by the crypto that they hold. It's similar to a traditional loan except that instead of using real estate or stock or other assets as collateral, they're using bitcoin. These loans can be either for BankProv's clients to loan out to their customers or for the clients to get the loans themselves — though they are mainly for loaning out to end customers.

In June, BankProv extended this program to ether-backed loans through a partnership with crypto custody bank Anchorage Digital. BankProv provided a $36 million line of credit to Anchorage, which then lends out dollars to its customers that have investments in ether and want a loan. By getting this loan, the customers or investors who hold ether don't need to liquidate their crypto to get a loan.

There are some differences from a traditional loan due to the wild volatility of crypto prices. BankProv has a system that tracks pricing continuously and sends alerts if price swings could trigger a margin call. If a customer gets that notification, they have a certain amount of time to add more bitcoin or ether to return the loan to its approved loan-to-value ratio, Mancini said.

"We've tested it. Every call we've made has been fulfilled. It's good to see the system working," said Mancini.

The bank also has ProvXchange, a new service that enables real-time payments between BankProv clients. This is appealing to tech-focused companies that are used to crypto-based transactions. "You can send payments and transfer funds at any point, in real time," Mancini said. Competitors like Silvergate and Signature also offer similar services.

BankProv's big move into crypto was headed by Dave Mansfield, who became CEO eight years ago after serving as CFO. Once known as a traditional community bank, the bank has been steered by Mansfield into building out these new business lines using his regulatory background to bring a focus on compliance to these new markets, Kelly said: Mansfield was previously a bank examiner.

About four years ago, the bank started moving into crypto and BankProv started interviewing crypto businesses and finding out what they needed. It started out with deposit services for crypto companies, Kelly said.

While serving crypto companies which are dealing heavily in cryptocurrencies, the capital BankProv holds for these clients is in fiat currency — which companies use for paying bills, payroll and other cash needs. That's an important distinction for the bank. Its customers may be exploring the Wild West of crypto, but BankProv is making money by taking care of their old-fashioned finance.


He couldn’t go to the cabin, so he brought the cabin to his cubicle

"Building forts” has long been a passion of Lucas Mundt's. Now, his employer plans to give out $200 stipends for cubicle decor.

Lucas Mundt scoured Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to complete his masterpiece.

Photo: Mike Beckham

It took a little work to get viral cubicle-decorator Lucas Mundt on the phone. On Monday, he was taking a half-day to help a friend fix his laminate floor. Tuesday, I caught him in the middle of an officewide Pop-A-Shot basketball tournament. His employer, the Oklahoma water bottle-maker Simple Modern, was getting rid of the arcade-style hoops game, and “glorious prizes and accolades” were on the line, Mundt said. (CEO Mike Beckham was eliminated in the first round, I heard from a source.)

Why did I want to talk with Mundt? His cubicle astonished nearly 300,000 Twitter users this week after Beckham tweeted out photos of it converted into what can only be described as a lakeside cabin motif. Using leftover laminate flooring that he found on Facebook Marketplace, Mundt created the appearance of a hardwood floor, and he carefully applied contact paper to give his cubicle walls, desk and file cabinet the look of a cozy cabin. The space heater that looks like a wood stove? Purely decorative: Mundt runs hot. The two fake mounted animal heads? They’re “kind of ironic,” said Mundt, who’s never gone hunting.

Keep Reading Show less
Allison Levitsky
Allison Levitsky is a reporter at Protocol covering workplace issues in tech. She previously covered big tech companies and the tech workforce for the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Allison grew up in the Bay Area and graduated from UC Berkeley.

COVID-19 accelerated what many CEOs and CTOs have struggled to do for the past decade: It forced organizations to be agile and adjust quickly to change. For all the talk about digital transformation over the past decade, when push came to shove, many organizations realized they had made far less progress than they thought.

Now with the genie of rapid change out of the bottle, we will never go back to accepting slow and steady progress from our organizations. To survive and thrive in times of disruption, you need to build a resilient, adaptable business with systems and processes that will keep you nimble for years to come. An essential part of business agility is responding to change by quickly developing new applications and adapting old ones. IT faces an unprecedented demand for new applications. According to IDC, by 2023, more than 500 million digital applications and services will be developed and deployed — the same number of apps that were developed in the last 40 years.[1]

Keep Reading Show less
Denise Broady, CMO, Appian
Denise oversees the Marketing and Communications organization where she is responsible for accelerating the marketing strategy and brand recognition across the globe. Denise has over 24+ years of experience as a change agent scaling businesses from startups, turnarounds and complex software companies. Prior to Appian, Denise worked at SAP, WorkForce Software, TopTier and Clarkston Group. She is also a two-time published author of “GRC for Dummies” and “Driven to Perform.” Denise holds a double degree in marketing and production and operations from Virginia Tech.

Ripple’s CEO won’t apologize for taking on the SEC

“The SEC declared war on Ripple. We’re defending ourselves.”

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse isn’t apologizing for his company’s pugnacious stance with regulators.

Photo: Ripple

Ripple just bought back a huge chunk of its shares this week, which CEO Brad Garlinghouse touted as a sign of the crypto company’s momentum.

But he also used the opportunity to hit back at the agency that the crypto powerhouse considers its nemesis: the SEC.

Keep Reading Show less
Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers crypto and fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at or via Signal at (510)731-8429.

Boost 2

Can Matt Mullenweg save the internet?

He's turning Automattic into a different kind of tech giant. But can he take on the trillion-dollar walled gardens and give the internet back to the people?

Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic and founder of WordPress, poses for Protocol at his home in Houston, Texas.
Photo: Arturo Olmos for Protocol

In the early days of the pandemic, Matt Mullenweg didn't move to a compound in Hawaii, bug out to a bunker in New Zealand or head to Miami and start shilling for crypto. No, in the early days of the pandemic, Mullenweg bought an RV. He drove it all over the country, bouncing between Houston and San Francisco and Jackson Hole with plenty of stops in national parks. In between, he started doing some tinkering.

The tinkering is a part-time gig: Most of Mullenweg’s time is spent as CEO of Automattic, one of the web’s largest platforms. It’s best known as the company that runs, the hosted version of the blogging platform that powers about 43% of the websites on the internet. Since WordPress is open-source software, no company technically owns it, but Automattic provides tools and services and oversees most of the WordPress-powered internet. It’s also the owner of the booming ecommerce platform WooCommerce, Day One, the analytics tool and the podcast app Pocket Casts. Oh, and Tumblr. And Simplenote. And many others. That makes Mullenweg one of the most powerful CEOs in tech, and one of the most important voices in the debate over the future of the internet.

Keep Reading Show less
David Pierce

David Pierce ( @pierce) is Protocol's editorial director. Prior to joining Protocol, he was a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, a senior writer with Wired, and deputy editor at The Verge. He owns all the phones.

The Twitter account Elon Musk would pay to delete

‘I’ve put a lot of work into it, and $5k is just really not enough.’

Elon Musk considers the Twitter account a security risk.

Photoillustration: Brendan Smialowski/AFP and Getty Images Plus; Protocol

“Can you take this down? It is a security risk.”

That’s how Elon Musk opened a conversation with 19-year-old Jack Sweeney over Twitter DM last fall. He was referencing a Twitter account, called @ElonJet, which tracks the movements of his private jet around the world.

Keep Reading Show less
Veronica Irwin

Veronica Irwin (@vronirwin) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol, covering breaking news. Previously she was at the San Francisco Examiner, covering tech from a hyper-local angle. Before that, her byline was featured in SF Weekly, The Nation, Techworker, Ms. Magazine and The Frisc.


Intel must spend $100B in Ohio now to avoid spending more later

Forget the politics. Here’s why Intel’s new factories in Ohio are crucial to the company’s future and its hope of regaining the chip manufacturing leadership spot.

Intel is doubling down on its own contract manufacturing business for fabless chipmakers.

Photo: Walden Kirsch/Intel Corporation

Intel’s plans to invest up to $100 billion in a new group of chip factories outside Columbus, Ohio, will have a much greater impact on the future of its manufacturing division compared to any short-term political or supply-chain concerns it might solve.

To hear President Joe Biden, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine tell it, the new factories — known as fabs in this world — are going to help fix inflation, make the U.S. more competitive, drive down the soaring cost of cars, ease the chip supply-chain shocks and improve U.S. national security. That’s a lot, even for one of the biggest projects in Intel’s storied history. It will be years before that capacity comes online, and whether a new chip factory in Ohio could actually solve any or all of those issues is debatable.

Keep Reading Show less
Max A. Cherney

Max A. Cherney is a Technology Reporter at Protocol covering the semiconductor industry. He has worked for Barron's magazine as a Technology Reporter, and its sister site MarketWatch. He is based in San Francisco.

Latest Stories