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The year 2021 will be a welcome, clean slate after the difficult year we just experienced. Now is the time to act on fresh ideas and plans. It’s a lot of hard work to start a new bank, but in this new season of opportunity, it’s worth the effort. Modern technology can help any ambitious individual streamline the process and find success in their De Novo bank. 

Below, you’ll learn about the FDIC’s requirements for fledgling banks, how to go about starting a De Novo bank in 2021, and who to partner with along the way.

Why Start a Bank?

Whether you’re motivated by an innate entrepreneurial spirit or love of community, owning a bank is a good idea. Bank investments have shown strong returns and low levels of volatility compared to other sectors. But those seeking to start a bank have always faced the question of whether to build or buy. For a long time, buying seemed to be the more favorable option because of all the regulatory hurdles involved with starting a De Novo bank. In recent years, however, the U.S. government has sought to make De Novo banking more appealing.

In December 2018, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) announced new initiatives to streamline the deposit insurance application process. With more transparent processes, the FDIC expects it to be easier for new banks to open across the country — and that’s good news for anyone reading this article.

Requirements for Starting a De Novo Bank in 2021

When you’re looking into starting a bank, you should plan to spend quite a bit of time preparing and filing documents. The amount of time it actually takes from ideation to opening your doors for the first time will take between six months to a year. But this amount of time greatly depends on how much capital you have raised, your management team, and how many people you have on your team to assist with De Novo banking applications.

Before filling out your application, make sure you know what’s required of your bank. You’ll need significant capital, approval from regulators, and immense patience, as the process could take over a year. The FDIC will want plenty of information about you as the organizer, your business plan, several years’ worth of financial projections, and more before approving your application. It is often recommended to engage with qualified consultants to ensure all application information is complete and correct.

Charter application

Those looking to start a bank must file applications for chartering and insurance with the relevant regulatory bodies. These forms are available on the FDIC website. 

The chartering decision is a critical decision one that will be based on the organizer’s vision for the bank. When filling out your bank charter application, you must indicate which of the following best describes your institution. Do you want your bank to be a state, national, or thrift bank? 

  • Nationally chartered commercial banks: Supervised by by OCC, members of Federal Reserve System
  • State-chartered commercial banks: Supervised by state banking department and FDIC (for state nonmember banks) or Federal Reserve (for state member banks)
  • State-chartered savings association: Supervised by the state
  • Federally chartered savings association: Supervised by the OTS

Each charter grants unique rights and privileges as well as unique supervisory costs, such as application fees. During your considerations, determine the charter’s regulatory quality by finding out how easy it is to reach and ask questions to the supervisor.


Capital is another critical piece of starting a bank — and arguably the most challenging, due to the regulations involved in the process. You will need to prove that you have $10 million to $30 million in capital behind your bank. Getting the proper amount of funding determines, in part, whether or not the FDIC approves your application. 

The cost of starting a bank will vary depending on the specifics of your company, but is usually between $500,000 and $1 million. Those planning on starting De Novo banks usually collect these monies associated with startup costs through investment capital. If you are independently wealthy, you could (with approval) provide all of this money yourself. More commonly, you also have the option of publicly seeking investors for your bank.

Partner With the Right People

Starting a new bank is not an easy task. If you’re new to the industry or simply want to greatly reduce the time you spend on filling out applications and creating capital campaigns, it’s important to partner with the right people. 

At BMA, our team has over 30 years of experience working with De Novo banks. We can ensure you have a solid foundation on which to build your bank. Our team works hand in hand with existing and prospective banks to bring them to the forefront of cutting-edge technology. 

With BMA’s platform, we have the capabilities and industry know-how to offer innovative and reliable core processing technology. With multiple third-party integrations for debit, loan, and deposit documents as well as ebanking technology, we have the experience to keep your bank successful.

When you partner with BMA, you’ll gain an industry partner that is invested in your

De Novo bank’s sustained growth. Contact BMA today to schedule a free introductory call, discovery meeting, and consultation.