Turning a Digital Core Conversion Into a Digital Transformation
Much has changed in the 27 years since The Claxton Bank in Claxton, Georgia, signed with its former core provider. Financial technology has become far more advanced, leading to consumers who want to bank wherever, whenever and however they want.
No one understood this more than Carri Self and Troy Poulin, the bank’s vice president of operations and IT officer, respectively. So after almost three decades with the same provider, the bank began searching for a technology partner who could help them offer the kind of 21st century products and services needed to appeal to today’s digital-first consumers. “We knew we wanted to move in a new direction, because everything was going digital,” says Self. “So we looked at three cores. But with CSI, we felt the culture aligned with ours, their relationship managers weren’t taking care of 500 banks apiece, and their digital channels were where we wanted to be.”
“Other vendors offered services like card on/off, but they didn’t integrate into the app. CSI had it all tied together in one place.”
Troy Poulin IT Officer, The Claxton Bank
The bank’s staff was excited about the opportunity to upgrade to NuPoint,® CSI’s core processing platform. So excited, in fact, that they didn’t view the upcoming transition as a conversion. Rather, they believed the bank was about to enjoy a “transformation.”
And The Claxton Bank had a secret weapon they used to build the same type of optimism and excitement among its customers: butterflies.
We built a butterfly habitat in the lobby, and filled it with plants, food and butterfly eggs. It was exciting to watch the caterpillars transform as our bank did. It was a popular attraction in the branch.”
Vice President of Operations,
The Claxton Bank
Butterflies and Banking?
Self says giving the transformation a theme helped customers think of it in a positive light. Philip Williams, the bank’s president and CEO, chose “the lifecycle of a butterfly” as the theme because he felt the butterfly’s metamorphosis was symbolic of the bank’s technological metamorphosis.
“We built a butterfly habitat in the lobby, and filled it with plants, food and butterfly eggs,” Self says. “It was exciting to watch the caterpillars transform as our bank did. It was a popular attraction in the branch.”
Poulin, who also manages marketing for the bank, says the habitat also served as an effective method of customer communication.
“You can put up Facebook ads and send out as many letters as you want, but customers don’t always read that stuff,” he says. “But anyone who came into the branch asked about the habitat, and many talked about it on social media, further spreading the message.” With both customers and employees feeling excited about the transformation, it was time to actually make it happen.
Two Teams, One Goal
Before the bank officially signed with CSI, Self says the staff formed Transformation and Business Continuity teams that met regularly, and eventually, worked closely with its new technology partner.
The Transformation team included employees from every functional area of the bank, who began planning for internal aspects of the conversion from a high level. The Business Continuity team focused on daily operations and guiding customers through the transformation, which according to Self and Poulin, was just as important as anything else. “We felt it was crucial to have a team that was able to show customers how the new solutions were going to work,” Poulin says. “A lot of banks talk about having a conversion team in place, but as that team is so busy handling the different technical projects, it was good for us that the Business Continuity team was there to cover day-to-day banking activities.”
In another move to maintain its high level of customer service during the transformation, the bank formed an in-house call center. Each employee working the phones had a “Transformation Guide” containing hundreds of potential questions and responses to steer customers through any possible scenario.
“We got a few hundred calls a day before the transformation, so we routed all calls to the call center and extended its hours so the rest of our staff could concentrate fully on training with CSI’s implementation team,” says Self.
And speaking of that process, Self says CSI’s implementation team was “truly fabulous.”
The Best of CSI
According to Self, the implementation team was instrumental in getting the bank back in balance and operational over go-live weekend. “We were nervous about not getting the bank in balance and how we were going to handle that on Monday, but they got us going,” Self says.
The diligent implementation support continued through the week following go-live. CSI team members were spread out helping in each department, and even popped into the call center to work with employees on the phone.
“They worked the same hours as our call center employees did,” Self says. “We felt like we got the best of CSI. We had a dream team here on site.”
The Claxton Bank went live on CSI systems on June 13, 2019, and both customers and employees began reaping the benefits right away.
Reaping the Rewards of a Successful Digital Core Conversion
Poulin says the efficiencies gained from using the NuPoint core platform were immediately noticeable.
“The account opening process has been streamlined significantly,” Poulin says. “It took 45 minutes for someone to open an account on our old system. Now, we can be in and out in five to 10. Being able to eSign has made processing much more efficient, as well.”
Customers adopted the bank’s new digital solutions right away. Not only did 44 percent of the bank’s customers start actively using the new banking app within two days of implementation, but also Poulin said he was surprised at how quickly customers adopted mobile wallets.
“Our customers signed up for mobile wallets before we even started advertising them. That told us a lot.”
Thanks to a smooth conversion into a new technology partnership with CSI, The Claxton Bank is set up to offer digital solutions that its customers want now, and has the capability to offer new solutions its customers will want in the future.