Cassi Pittman Claytor
Assistant Professor of Sociology, Case Western Reserve University
Cross River Bank
Gilles Gade transformed Cross River from a sleepy New Jersey community bank into a unicorn by becoming the lender of first resort to fintechs with booming aspirations and growth trajectories.
When the coronavirus hit, Gade, the founder and CEO, seized an opportunity to reclaim some of the firm’s community roots and put its much larger big bank brethren to shame in the process.
Tiny Cross River Bank fashioned itself into arguably the most indispensable lender to mom-and-pop businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. Gade’s group punched above its weight, tapping its fintech partnerships to dish out 165,000 Paycheck Protection Program loans to small businesses, with an average size of $36,000 per loan, as of the end of July.
Despite having less than $5 billion in assets, Cross River ranks fourth in total PPP loans issued, trailing only the three largest banks in the US — Bank of America ($2 trillion in assets), JPMorgan Chase ($2.7 trillion in assets), and Wells Fargo ($1.75 trillion in assets).