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How One Bank’s Virtual Branch Helps It Reach New Customers and Growth Goals

  • by Computer Services, Inc.
  • Mar 03, 2016

Many community-based financial institutions struggle with the perception of not being as tech-savvy as larger competitors. But some are finding creative ways to overturn that perception and sail past the competition. Case and point: Citizens National Bank of Cheboygan (Michigan).

For Citizens National, creating an online “virtual bank branch” is the forward-thinking digital solution their bank needed. This new channel not only breaks down the tech-savvy stereotype, but also garners new customers and allows the bank to meet its growth goals.

Creating Exceptional Customer Experience, Online

What sets many community banks apart from “big-box” banks is their focus on providing a genuine customer service experience. Citizens National realized that quality customer service isn’t limited to physical branches—with the latest mobile and Internet banking technologies, they could provide the same service-oriented interactions through a Virtual Branch. And they did.

It all started with a vision to have the look and feel of the bank, rather than just a Web page with hyperlinks. So, the bank created an online replica of the interior of one of its branches, giving online visitors the feel of actually visiting the bank. Once “inside” the Virtual Branch, visitors can: 

  • Open new accounts
  • Download the mobile banking app
  • Explore the rest of the bank’s website
  • Interact with a dedicated Virtual Branch manager

The Results Speak for Themselves

After launching the Virtual Branch, Citizens National is seeing an increase in the number of online applications for loans and checking accounts. And in addition to now receiving online loan applications on a weekly basis, they’re also currently averaging about 500 visits per month to the Virtual Branch—from both current and new customers.

Those are some pretty impressive results. But, what makes the Virtual Branch so successful?

It’s simple. Citizens National made customer experience their first priority. They simplified information and organized applications into one easy-to-use area, creating a user-friendly customer experience that’s helping them outpace the competition. 

Take Your Bank’s Technology Offerings to the Next Level

Citizens National understands that to be competitive, banks have to be bold with their growth strategies. For them, that meant setting the standard for innovation with a Virtual Branch. Now, the bank is growing both its customer base and its geographic footprint, all through digital channels that support the bank’s strategic vision. And these are technologies virtually any community bank can use.

So, what will your bank do to take technology offerings to the next level?