Entrepreneur

Portland online banking service Simple shutting down ahead of parent company’s acquisition


(Simple Photo)

Simple, the Portland-based online banking company with a presence in Seattle, is shutting down due to the sale of banking giant BBVA USA.

Founded in New York in 2009 and moved to Portland in 2011, the company was one of Portland’s most prominent tech startups. Simple opened a Seattle office in 2017 in the Pioneer Square neighborhood, employing people working in engineering, product, marketing, and other roles.

Simple was acquired for $117 million in 2014 by Spain’s BBVA, which announced in November that it was selling its U.S. business to PNC Financial Services Group for $11.6 billion.

The Oregonian first reported the news of the closure. A BBVA USA spokesperson told GeekWire that it is continually evaluating “strategic priorities and resources, including existing and potential partnerships with outside organizations.” The pending merger with PNC prompted a reassessment of BBVA USA’s business.

“As a result, today we’re accelerating some changes and stopping work on others, including the closing of Simple,” the spokesperson said. “These reviews are part of our normal processes, and have resulted in other ventures being closed in the past year or so based on performance and the economic environment, including Covault (2020) and Denizen (2019).”

Simple customers will migrate to the BBVA USA mobile app and become PNC customers upon the close of that acquisition, the company said.

The company did not provide any details about how many employees would be impacted, in Portland or Seattle. The Oregonian reported that Simple employed about 250 people as recently as 2018. A LinkedIn search shows four Seattle-based employees.

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Former CEO and co-founder Josh Reich tweeted that he did not have any additional insight about the closure, adding that he was saddened by the development.

Others tweeted notices they had received about their accounts with Simple:

 





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