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Business Plan Tips | 30 June, 2024

How to Start a Bank

Have you ever asked yourself, “can you make your own bank?”.  In this article we will uncover that question and many more.

It’s likely no surprise to learn that one of the most profitable businesses around is banking. The United States alone has the largest financial marketplace, and according to a report by SelectUSA, the financial services industry (which includes banks, investment services firms, and insurers) represents 8.3 percent, or 1.7 trillion dollars, of the U.S. gross domestic product. If you’ve ever wondered how to start a bank, you’re not alone. This guide will walk you through the essential steps on how to start your own bank and become a part of this lucrative industry.


Step 1: Know the Business

Before you start your own bank, it’s crucial to understand the banking business. Familiarize yourself with the various types of banks, such as commercial banks, savings banks, and community banks. Learn about the products and services they offer, including checking and savings accounts, loans, mortgages, and investment services. Understanding the regulatory environment and the competitive landscape is also essential. This foundational knowledge is critical when you’re planning how to start a bank business.


Step 2: Write a Business Plan

A comprehensive business plan is a must for starting a bank. This document should outline your bank’s mission, vision, and goals. It should include detailed market research, identifying your target customers and competitors. The plan should also outline your bank’s products and services, marketing strategies, operational plan, and financial projections. A well-crafted business plan is vital for attracting investors and obtaining regulatory approval.


Step 3: Raise Capital

Starting a bank business requires significant capital. The minimum capital to start a bank can vary widely, but it generally ranges from $10 million to $30 million. This capital is necessary to cover initial operating expenses, regulatory requirements to start a bank, and to ensure the bank’s stability. You can raise this capital through private investors, venture capital firms, or by partnering with other financial institutions. Ensuring you have adequate funding is a critical step in how to start a banking business.


Step 4: Get a Charter

To operate a bank, you must obtain a charter from either a state banking authority or the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) for national banks. The chartering process involves submitting an application that includes your business plan, financial projections, and information about your bank’s management team. The chartering authority will evaluate your application to ensure that your bank will be financially sound and well-managed.


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Step 5: Apply for FDIC Approval

Once you have your charter, you need to apply for insurance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). This insurance protects depositors’ funds in the event of a bank failure. The FDIC will review your application to assess the bank’s risk management practices, capital adequacy, and overall soundness. Obtaining FDIC approval is a critical step in how to start a bank in the USA.


Step 6: Check for Any Other Necessary Permits

Depending on your location, you may need additional permits and licenses to operate your bank. These can include state-specific banking licenses, business licenses, and zoning permits. Ensure you comply with all local, state, and federal regulations to avoid legal issues down the road. This step is essential when figuring out how to open your own bank.


Step 7: Get Customers

Once all regulatory approvals are in place, it’s time to attract customers. Develop a marketing strategy that highlights your bank’s unique value proposition. Utilize digital marketing, community events, and partnerships with local businesses to build your customer base. Offering excellent customer service and competitive products will help establish your bank’s reputation and encourage word-of-mouth referrals.



Starting your own bank is a complex but rewarding venture. By understanding how to start a bank business, create a solid business plan, raise sufficient capital, obtain the necessary charters and approvals, and attract customers, you can successfully build a bank. If you’re ready to embark on this journey and learn how to open a bank, ensure you have a clear plan and the dedication to see it through. With the right approach, you can create your own bank and become a part of the thriving financial services industry.


For those interested in how to start your own private bank or wondering “how profitable is owning a bank?” know that it is indeed a lucrative venture if executed properly. To ensure your business plan is solid and to navigate the complexities of how do you start a bank, BSBCON is here to help. Contact our team of expert business plan consultants and support to kickstart your banking venture. Good luck on your journey to becoming a bank owner!