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A conversation between Sarah Biller, executive director of Vantage Ventures, and Larry Mazza, CEO of MVB Financial Corp. and MVB Bank



A conversation between Sarah Biller, executive director of Vantage Ventures, and
Larry Mazza, CEO of MVB Financial Corp. and MVB Bank.

MVB Bank has differentiated itself through its commitment to fintech. Why is fintech so important to the company?

Our journey into Fintech has followed an evolu​​tionary path. MVB realized that banks were rapidly becoming the yellow-top taxis in an Uber world or Blockbuster in a Netflix world. To survive and thrive, our business model needed to evolve.  ​
After an investment and joining the Board of BillGO, I put together a team in early
2017 with Chief Strategy Officer Matt West to analyze the marketplace and develop strategy to capitalize on the trends driving growth in the Fintech industry. Our driver was the desire to find new sources of deposits and non-interest income. From that work, we formed a thesis that Fintechs would continue to take market share from banks. We expected that trend to accelerate. The second part of the thesis was that most Fintechs need a bank to support their product offering. We decided that we wanted to be the best banking partner for those Fintech companies. Additionally, we wanted to continue making equity investments in Fintechs.

MVB Bank has become a major competitor in the Fintech industry, developing a
specialty niche in online gaming. Through MVB’s rapidly expanding Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform, a component of our Fintech business, we reached a
milestone in the second quarter of 2021, becoming the 18th largest bank in the U.S., based on the number of client accounts. We have about 100 Fintech partnerships including client, vendor and investment relationships. 

MVB Bank was founded in West Virginia and its headquarters remains in Fairmont. How significant is the state to the company’s culture?

We like to say that our culture is our secret sauce as a company, and it all began
here in West Virginia. I have a great deal of gratitude for my experiences growing up in Clarksburg. West Virginia is a small state and is all about the importance of
relationships, and that is something that has remained with me over the years. It is ​relationships that fuel the success of MVB. Our purpose is to be trusted partners on the financial frontier committed to the success of our teammates, clients, communities and shareholders. Our core values of respect, love and caring; trust; commitment; being adaptive; and teamwork define the environment in which our Team Members thrive.

Are there ways in which being in West Virginia has contributed to the company’s incredible success over the last 20+ years?

West Virginians have a tremendous work ethic. Give a West Virginian a chance, and we will try to do anything. I watched my father’s work ethic as I was growing up, and this is with me every day as an entrepreneur. West Virginia is full of the
entrepreneurial spirit, and I can think of many examples. Just one of those examples is MVB’s Chairman David Alvarez and his construction and servicing companies. What are the attributes that should make West Virginia attractive to fintech companies and entrepreneurs who want to launch a fintech?
One of my favorite sayings is “fortune favors the bold.” For example, Wyoming is a forward-thinking state with their cryptocurrency business initiatives. Being creativeand bold are two very important characteristics of any start up.
Does MVB Edge Ventures intend to invest in any WV fintech startups?
MVB evaluates numerous Fintech investments every month, and those include West Virginia Fintech startups. We work with Vantage Ventures , WVJIT and the broader West Virginia venture capital community to ensure we’re including West Virginia startups in our pipeline of deals to review.

What is your/MVB Bank’s strategy with regards to renewable energy? Why is this an important focus for the bank moving forward?

As stewards for our environment, MVB has initiated several projects related to data collection, energy efficiency and reducing our carbon footprint. To further
understand our environmental impact, we have launched our first Environmental
Emissions Study. MVB has partnered with Boston-based sustainability company,
GreenFeet, to assist with gathering and calculating a collective Emissions Report for all MVB business and banking center Locations. Using the GreenFeet Platform and support from their knowledgeable staff, MVB has gathered emissions data from a variety of categories such as Team Member commuting, air travel, real estate and shipping. Using the GreenFeet Platform, we are now actively managing routine data updates so we can measure emissions over time and meet future sustainability goals. 

Are there any West Virginia-based companies helping with the renewable energy transition?

Recent West Virginia University graduate, August Chico, created a unique model and founded a new local business, Parthian Battery Solutions, LLC. Parthian repurposes the batteries from electric vehicles into solar energy storage systems and works in partnership with local solar installers that purchase batteries from Parthian at the request of the customer. Their method prevents hundreds of pounds of battery material from being prematurely wasted in a landfill. Parthian also provides a more environmental and economically sustainable option for auto makers to terminate their battery packs.

Supporting the local business and environment, MVB entered into an agreement to install solar panels with Parthian’s battery solutions at MVB’s banking center
locations throughout North Central West Virginia. The first MVB solar panel
installation took place in March 2021 in Morgantown, and the project will expand to three of MVB’s other banking center locations with the result that 50% of our
banking centers will be utilizing a form of renewable energy.​