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Growing a Community Bank: A Success Story

  • by Computer Services, Inc.
  • May 31, 2018

Nurturing growth is a top priority for many community banks. In fact, 69 percent of the bank executives surveyed as part of CSI’s Banking Priorities 2018 study said driving growth and profitability is their greatest challenge for the year.

One bank is meeting that challenge head-on.

In a 10-year period, Consumers National Bank in Minerva, Ohio, grew more than 120 percent in assets while increasing the number of full-time employees by only 15 percent. So, what’s the secret behind the institution’s success? According to Ralph Lober, president and CEO of Consumers National Bank, it’s all about your core partner.

It Starts with the Core

When Lober joined Consumers National Bank in 2007, the bank was analyzing whether it should continue in-house processing or outsource its core banking operations. Managing the core internally was time and labor intensive, and Lober says it was difficult for the $200 million institution to justify the cost and overhead of internal processing.

For several months, Lober and his team examined multiple vendors that provided both in-house and data center processing. Eventually, the bank decided to outsource to help increase efficiency, expand product offerings and reduce information technology (IT) risks.   

“Before switching, we used a number of separate systems to complete new account and maintenance processes,” Lober says. “Now, it’s all in the same platform so we eliminated some redundant procedures.”

Growth

After its core conversion, the bank reduced its IT, operations and bookkeeping staff by about nine positions. The change provided management the flexibility to reallocate these nine positions to fulfill some of the bank’s other needs, including audit, loan processing and a renewed emphasis on commercial sales—with outstanding results.

“We went from approximately $10 million in annual loan production to about $75 million,” Lober says. “And we’ve added three branches and two loan centers in five different markets since 2007.”

Reallocating staff from processing roles to sales positions on the front line made a huge difference in the bank’s growth and efficiency, but management had another strategy to keep Consumers National Bank’s momentum going strong.

To that end, the bank began using a customer-facing transaction processing system, which combined image processing with teller functionality, including integrated check scanning and virtual ticketing.

In all, the efficiencies gained from outsourcing core operations and gaining additional functionality have enabled management to focus on other priorities. Mainly, the desire to grow Consumers National Bank commercially.

Read the Full Story

For more information on Consumers National Bank’s successful strategy and core partnership, check out the related case study.