The Bancorp, a Driver of Fintech, Skirts with Nasdaq Delisting

  • JJ Hornblass
  • August 17, 2015
  • 1

canstockphoto5378573The Bancorp, which is the rent-a-banking-license for many top fintech ventures, is in danger of being delisted by Nasdaq.

Last Friday, The Bancorp [ticker: TBBK] disclosed that it once again missed its deadline for filing its 2014 financial disclosures to Nasdaq. The Bancorp has not released financial information since last February.

Nasdaq, in response to the missed deadline, sent The Bancorp a formal letter advising the bank that it is delinquent in its listing requirements. The Bancorp could ultimately be delisted for failing to file its financial details, although there is a lengthy review process by Nasdaq in advance of that. It appears that should The Bancorp miss its newly set September 8 deadline, it would begin to face a delisting situation.

A request for comment from The Bancorp went unanswered.

The trouble at The Bancorp seems to be a portfolio of around $1 billion of commercial loans that are mis-marked and cannot be sold. In a blog on Seeking Alpha, one investor, Larry Abrams, wrote that The Bancorp was in danger of violating “well-capitalized” thresholds set in the Dodd-Frank Act — and this was back in May. The bank at the time did disclose to Abrams that its “income for certain periods was overstated and income in other periods was understated in like aggregate amounts.”

The Bancorp is the bank charter behind Simple (part of BBVA), Netspend and PayPal’s prepaid card, among other fintech ventures. In a response to Bank Innovation, Simple for example emphasized today what it disclosed when it was sold to BBVA in February 2014 — that it “will be migrating all Simple customer accounts from Bancorp to BBVA Compass.” When? The response we got from Simple was, “Soon.”

There are precious few banks that have engaged with fintech startups to offer new and innovative services. Without The Bancorp, fintech will almost certainly lose a banking ally. Abrams estimated last May that The Bancorp’s fintech “story” put its market value at around $400 million. Today, TBBK’s market capitalization is about $300 million, down about 28% since the start of 2015.

It is, to say the least, some “story.”

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JJ started the first iteration of Bank Innovation back in 2007, and has been working on it ever since. He also serves as President & Chief Executive Officer of Royal Media, Bank Innovation’s parent. He founded Royal in 1995 and oversees all aspects of the New York-based diversified media company. Prior to forming Royal, JJ was on the editorial staff of American Banker, the daily newspaper, and worked as an editor of a business magazine in Hong Kong. As a reporter and editor, he has won journalism awards from the National Press Foundation, Newsletter & Electronic Publishers Foundation, and the Reader’s Digest Foundation. He has a BS in Economics from Yeshiva University and a Master’s from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was also a Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School of Banking. He lives in New York City with his wife, two daughters, and son. He counts among his accomplishments one New York City Marathon, two New York City Triathlons and the 2010 Father’s Day 5K, the first race he ever ran with his daughters. He can be reached at or 212-564-8972.

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