Case Study: Castle Creek Capital
At a Glance
Castle Creek Capital called Skyriver to report ongoing issues with older server equipment they had. They also had the desire to upgrade their current infrastructure to newer hardware running Windows Server and Exchange Mail Server to enhance their company’s collaboration abilities. Skyriver was able to meet those needs and more.
Castle Creek Capital is one of the most highly regarded and experienced bank private equity investors in the U.S.
Castle Creek makes control investments in U.S.-based community banks with assets of less than $10 billion. Castle Creek pioneered the concept of private equity control investing in the highly regulated banking industry and became the first private equity firm to meet the requirements to be registered as a bank holding company. As a bank holding company, Castle Creek can exercise meaningful control over its portfolio companies without subjecting its investors to bank regulation or oversight which it believes is a significant competitive advantage.
Over the past decade, Castle Creek has been the most prolific acquirer of U.S. banks and thrifts. Since 1992, the Principals have raised $1.7 billion of capital for bank transactions ($1.9 billion when including capital raised for financial services investments) completing 45 bank acquisitions and 8 bank sales. Inclusive of the capital invested are the four private equity funds managed by Castle Creek which has a long and consistent record of creating value using an operationally driven, hands-on approach to managing its portfolio banks. Castle Creek's success investing in the banking industry can be attributed to three primary factors:
- a team with significant banking experience,
- the ability to make control investments and
- operational execution.
While each of these factors is important, taken together, they form the foundation for Castle Creek's success.
Finding the Problems
Daily operations at Castle Creek depend on a robust IT environment. The need to be connected and have information at their fingertips is crucial to the success of the business. Prior to engaging with Skyriver on this project one principal said “we would just have the receptionist E-mail us documents when we were out of town and about to walk into a meeting.” Access to files outside of the office was limited and because Castle Creek was using POP mail through an ISP, being connected via mobile phone was a painful experience.
Castle Creek’s CFO, William Moody, has been with the company since 1996 and takes responsibility not only for the financial systems but also for the IT environment. When he joined the company he found a very basic set of computing systems and IT support was limited. Working with a consulting company and using his extensive knowledge of the financial industry and it’s IT needs, Bill was able to put a capable and functioning system into place. When the server began to suffer the effects of aging, Bill decided it was time to reengage with Skyriver and get a new system installed and online.
Putting It All Together
After meeting with Mr. Moody we were able to gain a thorough understanding of the companies needs and where their technology sore spots were.
Once on the job Skyriver addressed a wide range of computing and networking issues, including:
- Replacing the aging server with a new top of the line system to alleviate file space issues and bogged down file access.
- A new firewall for greater security and quality of service (QOS) on the company’s T1 line.
- Deploying Exchange 2007 and Blackberry Enterprise Server for real time collaboration and mobility.
- Deploying a VPN allowing users access to crucial documents while traveling.
- Setting up an archiving service for the company E-mail in order to meet strict audit requirements of the banking industry.
For Bill Moody and Castle Creek Capital, “having access to our systems and having them up is critical for our business to function, and having a company like Skyriver monitoring, managing, and maintaining those systems lets me sleep at night.”
He adds “It’s nice to have a company like Skyriver to take the distractions of IT problems off my plate. They are quick in response to our needs and issues. And their technicians are a real pleasure to work with.”