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#QuickTakes: RiskScout

March 28, 2022

Finding new sources of loans can require a bank to examine markets it hadn’t yet considered, as Melissa Marsal, executive vice president and chief operating officer, West Town Bank & Trust in Raleigh, N.C., tells BankBeat publisher Tom Bengtson.

Marsal describes how her bank partnered with RiskScout to identify and work with the hemp industry, examining risk profiles, implementing necessary compliance changes and using tech to scale rapidly without needing to create an entire program from scratch. “It’s a unique source of loan growth … which gives us an incredible deposit base,” she said.

Justin Fischer, co-founder and CEO of RiskScout, explains how he started the fintech to eliminate inefficiencies and fill a growing niche in banks working with marijuana, crypto or other emerging industries. Fischer, a fourth-generation farmer, has a personal connection to the issues: his father is starting to grow hemp at his farm in south Texas, causing friction in a 30-year banking relationship.

Fischer leveraged his fintech experience to help banks identify their risk appetite, whatever the industry, and build out a program to help West Town Bank take advantage of the opportunities present in the new industry.

“By the time we got done, we looked at each other and we said, ‘Although this is deemed high risk, this is really not that high risk. We can mitigate this risk,'” Marsal said.