top of page

Castle Creek Capital Appoints Central Payments Leadership

Castle Creek, Leading Community Bank and Payments Private Equity Firm Selects Internal Candidate for CEO

SIOUX FALLS, SDCentral Payments, architect of the award-winning Open*CP Fintech API Marketplace, names internal candidates as strategic leaders to drive the company’s promising future. Nikkee Rhody will assume the position of Chief Executive Officer and Eric Cotton as President and Chief Payments Officer.

Rhody, previously Executive Vice President, Chief of Strategy, holds twenty-three years of experience in payments and financial services. She has been a key contributor to Central Payments’ success over the last five years driving innovation, execution and competitive advantages through the company’s evolution in the marketplace. Part of the Women in Payments Global Network, recipient of the Tribute to Women business achievement award for co-founding and developing CPs accelerator, Falls Fintech, Rhody is focused on making Central Payments a best-in-class company.

Cotton, previously General Manager and a veteran with the company since inception in 2014, has a deep understanding of the intricacies of payments, fintech and embedded finance. He also played a major role in building the Open*CP API marketplace platform; serving partners via a single-source access lane to the entire payments ecosystem. Also bringing more than fifteen years experience in payment companies,

“Since our investment, we have had a strong belief in the Central Payments team,” said Tony Scavuzzo, Managing Principal at Castle Creek Capital. “On behalf of the board, we are thrilled to recognize these proven leaders whose experience, passions and commitment have surpassed our expectations. We see Nikkee, Eric and the entire Central Payments team as the best talent to lead us into a very bright future.”

In his new role, Cotton will be responsible for driving growth in partner relations and architectural solutioning while Rhody will lead the company’s vision, strategic initiatives, and innovation.

With its distinctive blend of innovation and compliance, Central Payments is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between consumer brands and traditional financial services. “Navigating the payments landscape is complex. That’s why with this change we’ve also created a new department under Eric’s leadership focusing on a thorough understanding of partners’ needs and consultative solutions for a profitable and sustainable product offering,” Rhody says.

About Central Payments

Central Payments provides payments technology and issuing solutions for fintech and embedded finance businesses. The company’s Open*CP API Marketplace is one of the only true banking-as-a-service payments platforms built by fintech bankers with issuing capability embedded. Open*CP’s vertical integration and its native-to-the-cloud technology are the drivers responsible for Central Payments’ success. The company also operates Falls Fintech, its startup fintech accelerator and produces Fintech Brews & News, a podcast devoted to helping bridge the gap between banking, startups, and the entire fintech industry. Visit and for more information.

About Castle Creek Capital

Castle Creek is a premier partner and capital provider to community banks and financial service companies. Located in San Diego, California and Dallas, Texas, the firm has been a leading investor in community banking since its inception in 1990, having raised and managed eight private equity funds and multiple special situations funds.


bottom of page