Spotlight On: David Reiling, Chairman & CEO, Sunrise Banks

Spotlight On: David Reiling, Chairman & CEO, Sunrise Banks

3 min read March 2023In an interview with Invest:, David Reiling, chairman and CEO of Sunrise Banks, talked about some of their milestones for 2022, including a large capital investment from the U.S. Treasury due to the bank’s history and philosophy of providing loans to underserved communities. The bank has been focused on promoting equity and inclusion in the communities it serves and has been collaborating with various partners to invest in systematic change for the long term.

What have been some milestones for Sunrise Banks over the last year? 

I would say 2022 was a fantastic year not just financially but also in alignment with our mission, vision and values, and with potential investors and customers. In 2022, we were the recipient of a very large capital investment from the U.S. Treasury. Sunrise has a CDFI certification from the Treasury. The capital was driven to us based on our history and philosophy of loaning to people traditionally left out of the financial services system. 

The communities we are serving faced quite a bit of tragedy given the civil unrest post-George Floyd. The focus in regards to equity and inclusion has never been greater as we continue to collaborate with different partners from large nonprofits to grassroots engagement on the community side. It was an amazing but challenging time to engage with those partners. 

Sometimes you would say there is too much money coming in all at once. We want this to be a movement and not a flash in the pan in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion. We have been figuring out how we invest in systematic change and long-term equity and inclusion. 

The other thing that comes with these large investments is the infrastructure to build upon to grow. We have doubled in size in the past five years and our prospects for growth are significant, particularly with this new influx of capital. In some cases that means getting rid of that old technology to embrace the new. A lot of 2022 was positioning ourselves to do just that. 

Where do you see the current economic landscape? 

We have a very resilient economy here because of the diverse industries in type and size, which has helped us to weather recessions. I see a flux of entrepreneurship blossoming from women and BIPOC so there is great promise there. There is also a strong demand for housing and commercial real estate. Another aspect is our low unemployment rate. We need a net migration into the Twin Cities to continue to grow and develop. 

In what ways are you leveraging technology? 

Banking is being disrupted by technology and as a result, manual processes are shifting and technology has accelerated. For us, technology has always been one of our core competencies in order to structure data and facilitate transactions in real-time. For Sunrise, we have a two-fold business model. From the local sense, we serve low and moderate-income communities as that is where our branches are located and include the people we serve. The other half is that we partner with financial technology companies across the country and leverage our technological capabilities to facilitate some kind of fintech for good. It is focused and niche driven and these are clients that we will never see in our branches but the facilitation of technology allows us to meet them where they are and not where the bank is. 

What efforts are you making to be sustainable? 

Starting on the mortgage side of things, we have a specific product geared towards families who want to have a home but don’t have proper documentation. These people are generally immigrants but they have been here, have jobs and actually have a credit history in most cases. It is called Pathway2Home, and we use an alternative documentation process to facilitate originating a mortgage loan to help them purchase a home. To help unbanked individuals establish a bank account we partner with a lot of non-profit organizations, including one called Prepare and Prosper. Prepare and Prosper helps people prepare their annual tax returns and also gives them the ability to open a checking or savings account through Sunrise. That account in some cases can be the start of their financial resiliency journey. 

On the environmental side, we originate business loans called C-Pace (Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy) geared towards environmental improvements for commercial property. The way they get repaid is through the collection of property taxes. In that same realm but at the organizational level, we published for the first time in June 2022 our carbon emissions which is the first step to becoming a net zero bank by 2050. 

On the fintech side, we partner with a company called Self and they originate small cash-secured loans to help people build their credit history. In 2022, we originated about 236,000 of these loans across the country for a total of approximately $175 million. It shows the scale and power of fintech.   

What is your outlook for Sunrise over the next two to three years? 

It is going to be really fun. The space we are in today with most of our infrastructure in place, a great leadership team and the capital to grow really sets us up for intentional growth where we want to do business. The organization has the confidence to take our offerings to the next level to make a difference. It’s about picking the right partners and creating the right opportunities so the next few years look fun.  

In some cases, it is very hard to get corporate folks to Minnesota but once they get here they don’t leave. It does speak to the quality of life here. It is a great place to live and have a family and there is a spirit of embracing life here. 

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