Last year, Arizona launched its revolutionary financial technology sandbox, exemplifying a commitment to minimizing regulations and developing cutting edge business platforms. The sandbox has become a resource that has enabled many growing financial tech firms to burgeon.
Verdigris Holdings – a startup that seeks to provide banking tools for underrepresented and low-income populations – was admitted into this program earlier this year. And because of the success it garnered as a member of the sandbox, Verdigris announced that it is developing its national headquarters in Arizona.
“We looked at things like the quality of the technical infrastructure, the volume of skilled labor — and particularly within general skills labor — the volume of training and experience in financial services, in technology, and a number of regulated industries,” Verdigris Holdings chief executive officer Michael Coghlan said. “And particularly, any of the final four met the criteria that we had set, but even within that, Arizona performed very well — it was among the highest one or two in pretty much all of the categories that we set. We came to the cities, we met with the representatives from ACA, GPEC … and we found that the level of support and engagement and cooperation between business, the academic sphere, and the legislative body here was something that was unique to Arizona.”
Roughly 63 million people in the United States do not have access to banking that can assist with their day-to-day needs. Consequently, domestic and international transfers and online purchases accrue many more fees and charges. Verdigris helps alleviate many of these problems with personal digital banking that offers financial literacy free of overdraft charges.
The same rule applies for the businesses that support these individuals. Money transmitters and smaller financial tech companies face damaging operational costs, being outside the regulated banking industry. Verdigris helps these companies thrive by offering services such as identity assurance differentiation and commercial deposit accounts.
“The people who are in low-income communities generally are ignored and actively excluded from the major banks, so they’re left using the much more expensive bank and products, like the prepaid card and check-cashing stores, and they spend a lot more — ironically — than those of us who are fortunate enough to afford banking services. Our mission is to be able to bank those people,” Coghlan said.
Phoenix was chosen in a competitive race of over eleven other cities. Verdigris revealed that Arizona’s “vibrant business community” was one of the integral reasons why the state was chosen over other considerations. In addition to the financial tech sandbox, the state offers a wide variety of resources for small businesses.
“Arizona was a first mover to assure that businesses can test, validate and scale FinTech operations through a sandbox program, and Verdigris’s selection of Greater Phoenix for its headquarters validates the importance of these cutting-edge programs,” said Greater Phoenix Economic Council president and CEO Chris Camacho. “By working together, we can always accomplish more, and we’re excited that Verdigris’s innovative approach to banking will benefit Greater Phoenix’s residents, businesses and economy.”
The new headquarters will create 210 new jobs with average annual salaries of roughly $150,000. Overall, the new location is expected to create $32 million in annual economic impact by 2022.
“We are excited Verdigris has chosen Arizona to create hundreds of new, high-paying jobs,” said Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. “More and more companies are moving to Arizona for our world-class economic environment and exceptional quality of life.”