Core Bank: Small Business Champion

Core Bank’s search for a more efficient way to lend to small businesses led it to develop the RapidTRAC loan program, which launched in March.

RapidTRAC is a client-centered digital lending system focused on businesses. It’s a simpler, faster way for businesses to borrow and open accounts, according to Chief Administrative

Officer Heather Wilderman.

“We think RapidTRAC is a game changer for small businesses in getting a business loan,” she said. “The system utilizes the decisioning underwriting algorithm so on the back end it’s also looking at several data sources to do verifications, which then allows us in most cases to do an instant approval or decline of that business loan.”

When business owners receive an instant approval, they can review the loan details and decide whether to accept the loan. If they accept, it immediately generates a fully digital execution-ready document package and emails it to the applicants for their electronic signature.

“We’re allowing term loans between $10,000 and $100,000 through this product and lines of credit between $10,000 and $50,000, and we’re also offering a competitive rate on rolling out this product,” Wilderman said.

To qualify for this type of loan, firms must have been in business for at least a year, and the owner must have a certain credit score. Requirements and the procedure for applying are outlined on Core Bank’s designated website at

More Digital Offerings

“The [COVID-19] pandemic has really shifted the banking industry and moved it to a lot more digital offerings,” President and CEO John Sorrell said. “Our industry is moving this way because it’s how people, especially some of the younger clients, want to do business.

We believe that this will be shared beyond the markets we serve, and go throughout the Midwest.”

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Locally-owned Core Bank has five locations — its headquarters and three branches in Omaha and a full-service banking unit in Overland Park, Kansas. In 2022 the bank will expand its mortgage company and add a full-service bank — its sixth location — at 114th Street and Highway 370 at the Granite Falls Development in Sarpy County.

Although the pandemic has caused lots of turmoil, the banking industry overall has done well over the past few years, mainly because of its ability to help businesses with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

“Banks were responsible for getting the [PPP] money out to people in need,” Sorrell said. “Interest rates have been favorable. We’re very large in the mortgage business for a community bank of our size, so that’s been favorable. Those headwinds can change at any moment, but the industry itself has been very strong.

“One reason we got into RapidTRAC was that a lot of PPP could have been done more electronically with a product like this. That really hastened our thought process on where we’re going to offer products.”

Expanding Beyond Omaha

The outlook for the financial industry over the next 12 months is good. Banks have built up their liquidity and their capital.

“Rates may go up,” Sorrell said. “The Federal Reserve has been talking about adjusting rates. Inflation is not transitory, we don’t believe it’s here. It’s going to be a challenge for folks in 2022, and we’re keeping our eye on that. I think we’ve positioned ourselves, at least in our bank, to weather some of the choppy waters that could be ahead in 2022 with some of the unknowns still out there, including how far the Omicron [COVID-19 variant] takes us.

“There were lots of things every company went through, not just in our industry — the whole remote work challenge, creating a safe environment and bringing people back to a safe environment. Those challenges are ongoing, but I think we’ll fare well in 2022.”

Over the next year Core Bank plans to expand outside the Omaha market, as it did in Kansas City.

“A lot of consolidation is still going on in the banking industry,” Sorrell said. “A lot of that is smaller institutions that maybe don’t have succession planning, but they’re looking at the cost of doing business, so there are opportunities to expand through acquisitions. We’re very bullish for 2022, but we’re cautious at the same time.”

“I think what we’re focusing on is customer-centric technology offerings that make it easier for our customers and clients on both the business and consumer side, but this year we’ve really focused on the business side in getting them offerings that make it easier for them,” Wilderman said.

“[For customers] to bank how they want, when they want is important,” Sorrell said. “A lot of things are happening, some things through legislation. To be able to have an end-to-end experience in the mortgage business, you would have to have what they define as a notary, which is a big change in that business, with all the e-documents. It’s kind of like tipping the way we do business on its head a little bit but it’s all positive. You have to constantly look at where these things are going and find good partners we can partner with that can make our solutions affordable.”