This Tiny Oklahoma Bank Is Allowing Customers to Buy Crypto on Its Mobile App

Vast Bank has been helping select individuals purchase crypto since February.

Aug 25, 2021 at 12:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 1:44 p.m. UTC

A Tulsa, Okla.-based bank is inserting a crypto purchasing feature into its mobile banking app. 

Vast Bank (formerly Valley National Bank) has been testing customer purchases of crypto with money from their bank accounts throughout the first half of the year and is now ready to have customers buy bitcoin and seven other cryptocurrencies in the same place that they check account balances. 

“You’ve probably seen the surveys that have said 60% of folks that haven’t engaged with crypto yet are saying they would like to, but they’d like to do it through their bank,” Vast CEO Brad Scrivner said. “I believe that crypto is going to essentially become this feature within banking.” 

Recently, more banks and fintech companies doing business with banks have been developing crypto-related products that would help these institutions capture the assets that would otherwise go to exchanges. Vast’s total assets at the end of the first quarter were $783 million. By comparison, JP Morgan Chase, the nation's largest bank by assets, has $3.2 trillion in assets.

In February, Vast Bank began allowing some customers to buy cryptocurrencies with money from their bank accounts , and now customers will be able to see their crypto account balances together with their fiat account balances. 

Taking advantage of interpretative letters from former Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks last year, the bank has chosen to be the custodian of their customers' cryptocurrency while Coinbase acts as the exchange. 

Vast also serves crypto companies, which have historically struggled to gain traditional bank accounts and often aim to have multiple banking relationships to store and move their users’ fiat currencies. 

New crypto features are likely to be added to the app alongside the purchasing option, Scrivner said. 

“We have already been doing some things on the lending side in terms of looking at a legal review,” Scrivner said. “There’s lending against crypto as collateral. We would probably start with bitcoin and ETH."

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