Six more banks and credit unions are partnering with Google to offer digital bank accounts through Google Pay, the tech giant, along with several institutions, announced Monday.
BankMobile, BBVA USA, BMO Harris, Coastal Community Bank, First Independence Bank and SEFCU will join Citi and Stanford Federal Credit Union (SFCU) in offering co-branded bank accounts next year. Citi and SFCU were named the project’s first banking partners in November. The accounts will be built on top of the financial institutions’ existing infrastructure, and Google will provide the front-end, user experiences and financial insights.
"We had confirmed earlier that we are exploring how we can partner with banks and credit unions in the US to offer digital bank accounts through Google Pay, helping their customers benefit from useful insights and budgeting tools, while keeping their money in an FDIC or NCUA-insured account," Google said in a statement. "We are excited that six new banks have signed up to offer digital checking and savings."
In addition to the eight financial institutions, Google said it wants to bring more financial institutions on board.
"Our initial partners are highly innovative, but different in terms of focus and scale," a company spokesperson said. "By partnering with both large, global banks and credit unions with deep community ties, we can do a better job building products that meet a diverse set of needs ... Our intent is to work with more U.S. financial institutions."
Banks might see the Google partnership as a way to expand their brand and grow customer accounts outside of their existing branch network. Unlike other bank-fintech partnerships where partner banks often operate in the background, Google has said the checking accounts will be "co-branded."
"Our approach is going to be to partner deeply with banks and the financial system," Google executive Caesar Sengupta told The Wall Street Journal last year. "It may be the slightly longer path, but it's more sustainable."
Anand Selva, who heads Citigroup’s consumer bank, said the partnership could help Citi draw more customers without expanding its branch presence, which is already slighter than most big banks. "We have to be where our customers are," he told The Wall Street Journal.
BBVA USA President and CEO Javier Rodríguez Soler said the collaboration aligns with the bank’s five-year strategy to reach more customers with its digital offerings, and BMO called the partnership a "fantastic next step" in the bank’s growth strategy.
"Google Pay allows us to reach new customers and extend the BMO brand more broadly through a platform that helps customers make real financial progress," Ernie (Erminia) Johannson, group head of North American personal and business banking at BMO Financial Group, said in a statement. "We continually seek partnerships of this nature that allow us to accelerate growth through customer-centric innovation."