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Philly FinTech: Richard Vague bets on WealthHub; William Penn Bank adds Fidelity, Washington

Investors add $1.4 million for WealthHub; William Penn bank in Bucks County buys two smaller mutuals.

Investor Richard W. Vague has backed a string of Philadelphia-area start-ups since moving here from Wilmington, Del. in the early 2000s. ( Tom Gralish / Staff Photographer )
Investor Richard W. Vague has backed a string of Philadelphia-area start-ups since moving here from Wilmington, Del. in the early 2000s. ( Tom Gralish / Staff Photographer )Read more

WealthHub Solutions, a Conshohocken customer-relationship management software firm targeting trust banks and wealthy-family financial offices, says it has raised $1.4 million in a seed round led by Richard Vague, the Philadelphia marketing leader and head of Gabriel Investments.

The firm had also reported raising $1.6 million in 2016 from investors led by Philadelphia-based Rittenhouse Ventures and state-backed Ben Franklin Technology Partners.

“We are very excited" that Vague, who ran the former USA Bank in Wilmington, now part of JPMorgan Chase & Co., and later founded successful consumer financial and energy companies, "sees the transformative potential of WealthHub for trust and family office administration,” said WealthHub chief executive Jim Marks in a statement.

WealthHub’s cloud-based system, built on the Salesforce software platform, “automates the daily activities of trust officers and fiduciary managers while providing data aggregation, integration with accounting systems, and management and client reporting,” in one of the last financial-services sectors to automate, the company said in a statement.

The company "substantially improv[es] efficiency and customer service,” said Vague in a statement, adding he would personally help WealthHub to grow.

Meanwhile, William Penn Bancorp Inc., of Bristol Borough, Bucks County, continues to roll up smaller neighborhood savings banks.

The company, whose shares trade over the counter as WMPN, has agreed to buy Fidelity Savings & Loan Association of Bucks County and Washington Savings Bank of Northeast Philadelphia, according to a statement by president Kenneth Stephon, who joined William Penn last fall when it acquired his former bank, Audubon Savings of Camden County.

The value of the deal was not disclosed, but William Penn said in a statement that it will issue shares as part of the deal, and depositors in the smaller banks will have the same ownership privileges as William Penn depositors.

William Penn is a mutual holding company, a form of bank ownership developed by depositor-owned mutual savings banks, such as the former Philadelphia Savings Fund Society and Beneficial Savings Bank, as they issued shares to depositors, bosses, and outside investors and converted to private ownership.

Before the planned double acquisition, William Penn counted six area branches with $418 million in loans and other banking assets, and 65 employees, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. records.

William Penn has been profitable every year since before the 2008 recession, according to the FDIC, though it remains below the $1 billion-asset threshold bank analysts say a company needs to count on making money in the current low-interest-rate and regulatory environment.

Washington, based in Philadelphia, has four branches and $159 million in assets and employs around 33. Washington lost money in each of the last two years and has shrunk its loan portfolio and employee headcount since the late 2000s.

Fidelity has an office in Bristol Borough and $86 million in assets, about the same as its size 10 years ago, and 15 employees. The bank has posted modest profits in the last two years.

The two Bucks County banks were founded in the late 1800s, Washington in 1903.