Judith Erwin, Chief Executive Officer, Grasshopper Bank N.A., will be our guest speaker at the Exchequer Club luncheon on Wednesday, September 18, 2019.
Judith has been in commercial banking for 35 years with the most recent 20 years focused in venture banking and the venture capital ecosystem, first in the San Francisco Bay Area and then in New York City for the past 10 years. Currently Judith is the founding CEO for the first digital commercial bank in the US, Grasshopper Bank N.A.
Judith’s career journey began in 1982 after graduating from college. 1982 was a time of deep recession. At that time, this recession was the worse downturn since the depression. Interest rates were at a record high level, peaking at 21.50%. Banking was in very bad shape. Taking a job in a branch, Judith started at the very bottom of the hierarchy. Over the years to come, Judith took on new opportunities whenever they were presented and began the course of building a career.
Judith was part of the founding executive team for Square 1 Bank in 2005, a new venture bank. Responsible for the venture capital relationships globally, she built the business from scratch continuing to build on the relationships she had formed over the prior years. Square 1 successfully went public in 2014 on NASDAQ…ringing the bell with her colleagues in NYC. One year later, Square 1 Bank was sold to Pacific Western Bank. After over 10 years, it was time to consider something new.
Approached in early 2016 to start a new venture bank based in NYC, Judith agreed with the one caveat that it needed to have a differentiated technology strategy. After 35 years in banking, she knew exactly what was broken in commercial banking and knew it was the time to make significant change in the industry that had served her so well.
After raising an initial seed round of $15MM, the Bank successfully closed on its capital round with greater than $116MM. The Bank quietly opened its virtual doors in May 2019. The strategy was to build a bank from “scratch” and providing a much better user experience for the digital entrepreneurs Grasshopper serves with the most current technologies available. Judith and her fellow Grasshoppers are seeking a number of firsts: first US digital commercial bank, first new bank in NY in ten years, record-breaking bank fund raise.
Grasshopper ultimately seeks to democratize access to high quality financial services while improving greatly the client experience.