Charlottesville, Virginia-based Blue Ridge Bank named Kirsten Muetzel, a 10-year veteran of the Federal Reserve, as president of its fintech division, the bank announced Tuesday.
The move comes roughly four months after the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) ordered the bank to improve its oversight of third-party fintech partnerships.
Blue Ridge and another Virginia-based bank, FVCB, terminated a planned merger last January, about two months after delaying the transaction over “certain regulatory concerns” the OCC found with Blue Ridge.
“Kirsten is a respected thought leader in the industry, and she brings the perfect combination of banking supervision experience coupled with fintech industry knowledge and business acumen,” Blue Ridge CEO Brian Plum said in a statement Tuesday. “Kirsten will be instrumental as we continue building the necessary infrastructure to support current partnerships while preparing the foundation upon which to build future success.”
Muetzel served in a host of roles for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco between 2008 and 2019. She specialized in financial sector policy and analysis and counterparty credit risk analysis before serving as chief of staff for the region’s financial institutions supervision and credit unit, and capping her tenure as a central point of contact, according to her LinkedIn profile.
She later served as head of finance for two fintechs, Metal and EarnUp, and chief risk officer for two more: Synctera and Fundid. Muetzel also spent more than three years focused on capital raising and mergers-and-acquisitions advisory services at Goldman Sachs.
At Blue Ridge, Muetzel is set to manage a portfolio of partners, strengthen regulatory compliance and advance the bank’s banking-as-a-service strategy.
“There continue to be significant opportunities for banks to develop relationships with fintech firms and create new revenue streams while in turn enhancing products and services to existing customers,” Muetzel said. “Many of these fintech arrangements are focused on improving access to financial services, which can make a real difference in someone’s day-to-day life, and thereby inspires me.”
Under the OCC’s order, Blue Ridge must obtain the regulator’s non-objection before entering into any new contracts with fintech partners or adding new products in cooperation with existing partners.
The bank also agreed to show, in an “action plan,” how it would better monitor suspicious activity, including “high risk customer activity involving … third-party fintech partners.”
A Blue Ridge-appointed compliance committee must also provide quarterly details of corrective actions the bank intends to implement, the timelines to complete them, the names of the people responsible and status updates on those measures.
Tuesday’s action presumably puts a new name atop that list.