FARMINGTON, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Farmington State Bank d.b.a Moonstone Bank today issued a statement addressing questions and correcting inaccurate and unsupported allegations around an investment in FBH Corporation, the bank’s holding company, made by Alameda Research Ventures, LLC in January 2022.
Moonstone Bank (Farmington State Bank) is a 135-year-old bank that, since its 2020 acquisition by FBH Corporation, embraced an innovative startup business model, with the goal to serve new customers in underserved industries, such as digital assets and hemp/cannabis businesses. The new model leverages management and technology, built and selected for purpose, to safely and soundly support these innovative businesses and consumers. Throughout our history and throughout the recent process of transforming our business model, we have remained in close communication with our regulators and have built robust processes, programs, and controls to ensure all our activities comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
In January this year, as a result of a capital raise effort to support our further development, we received an investment from a company that at the time had a pristine reputation and was a darling of the financial markets. Unfortunately, the unexpected collapse of this company negatively impacted countless individual investors, investment firms, vendors, counterparties and unfairly affected Farmington State Bank d.b.a Moonstone Bank’s reputation as well.
Alameda has a non-controlling interest in Moonstone, with no board membership and no involvement with management.
As every startup, we sought to raise capital to fund our business plan and growth. In January 2022, Alameda Research Ventures, LLC invested $11.5 million in Moonstone (through FBH, Moonstone’s holding company) for a non-controlling minority common-share interest (under 10%). Alameda has remained a passive investor, with no board membership and with no involvement in management. As it appears now from documents made public, Alameda Research/FTX deployed more than $2 billion in venture capital across 179 investments, in regard of which the investment in our company represents less than 0.6%.
Moonstone’s valuation was consistent with other similar technology Banks and Trust Banks startups at the time.
Because of Moonstone’s technology and data first strategy, solving for a known gap in banking, and the large potential it offers, the bank was seen as a financial technology bank and valued as such, with a multiple typical for similar entities. Other similar technology driven Bank and Trust Bank startups achieved significantly higher valuations during the same period, including multiple pre-launch, pre-revenue start-ups.
Jean Chalopin, individually and without any connection to Deltec Bank acquired Farmington State Bank (Moonstone) following all appropriate regulatory requirements.
In mid-summer 2018, Mr. Chalopin individually and without any connection to or without any involvement to Deltec International Group and its subsidiaries, began searching to acquire a bank in the United States to develop a new model of banking in which he strongly believes, to capitalize on the convergence of technologies and regulations to ensure needed and reliable banking services to customers.
Mr. Chalopin followed standard procedures for acquiring a United States bank pursuant to all applicable statutes, rules, and regulations, which included extensive due diligence and extensive discussions and review, followed by applications to, and approvals from the Federal Reserve Board, and the Division of Banks of the Washington Department of Financial Institutions.
The operations and business of FBH Corporation and its subsidiary, Moonstone Bank™, are completely separate and apart from any other business owned by Mr. Chalopin, including Deltec International Group and its subsidiaries. Until the investment by Alameda Research, Mr. Chalopin was the sole stockholder of FBH since its formation.
Moonstone has a vision to build a technology bank for underserved industry businesses to provide reliable banking services tailored specifically to the unique challenges these industries face.
Moonstone Bank first serves its local community but also offers banking solutions for innovative industries and professional individuals that lack sufficient access to reliable banking services, most often because of these industries’ perceived (not actual) risk.
To this end, Moonstone Bank has implemented a “technology and data-first” strategy for the benefit of its intended customers, while ensuring scalable compliance. We have hired expert management that exemplifies a culture of ownership, integrity, and transparency. Most importantly, we have hired executive management and other key personnel who are proficient in change management, infosec, engineering, digital innovation, compliance, and enterprise risk management, thus making it possible for us to deliver scalable, reliable products and services in a safe and sound manner.
Contrary to certain media reports, Moonstone has 32 employees and 16 of our employees live in Washington, our home state. We have also been able to leverage the power of remote work, as have many banking institutions. As with most banks, we maintain an in-person customer interfacing branch and back-end administration, which also interfaces with customers telephonically or online.
About FBH Corporation
FBH Corp is a bank holding company, and Washington State-based Moonstone Bank is a commercial bank with roots in the state of Washington since 1887. Moonstone Bank provides a robust financial platform designed to empower the next generation of growing industries.
Moonstone Bank combines first-in-class regulatory, compliance and risk expertise with a simple, yet powerful open-architecture platform built to offer valuable financial products and services in a single ecosystem. We help customers realize the full potential of their unique businesses.
To learn more, visit www.moonstonebank.com.