Mega Bank Products with Community Bank Service

As its region’s largest locally owned institution, Banterra Bank is known for mega-bank products and services with quick local decisions and the personal service of a community bank. It constantly strives for an exceptional customer experience, exemplified by its specialty lending services and approach to commercial and consumer banking.

It’s also had CSI’s support for over 40 years. Banterra partnered with CSI in October 1981 (just six years after its founding) to further its mission of serving its customers and community. Chief Information Officer Kim Drone was there from the beginning and reflects fondly on how that partnership has evolved. “CSI has been a very good business partner for us,” she says. “The bank has grown, and as we’ve grown, CSI has grown. I like to say that we’ve grown together.”

That statement is no exaggeration. Just as CSI has expanded to serve a wide range of financial institutions nationwide, Banterra’s storied history is replete with acquisitions, expansion into new markets and a relentless pursuit of innovation. What started with a single branch in Southern Illinois with $11 million in assets now extends into Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Utah.

Today, Banterra Bank has approximately $3 billion in assets and 40 branches, and sits in the top 5% of Illinois chartered banks. Drone attributes much of that success to its CSI partnership: “Our growth and progress have been tied to CSI because CSI has been our core and provided the services we need to allow ourselves to grow our customer base.”

Taking a Strategic Approach to Today’s Challenges

Although Banterra has grown a great deal, its challenges are familiar to many institutions across the country – stemming primarily from increased digital use and competition for the business and attention of its customers. In Drone’s words, “Some of the biggest challenges we face right now are keeping customers engaged, providing them with innovative products and channels to communicate with us … also innovative ways to do business with us.”

To engage its many customers, Banterra offers various innovative resources, like financial calculators, blogs, financial literacy tools and online texting. It also provides the most advanced financial products through CSI’s NuPoint Core Banking Platform, which empowers the bank to work smarter and keep growing. Noteworthy offerings include digital banking, live teller at their ITMs and various modern lending offerings.

“CSI has been a very good business partner for us… The bank has grown, and as we’ve grown, CSI has grown. I like to say that we’ve grown together.”

Kim Drone
Chief Information Officer, Banterra Bank

Drone speaks highly of how NuPoint has facilitated employee productivity and the business of banking. She also emphasizes its ability to leverage open banking, seamlessly integrating with CSI solutions and third-party vendors. She says, “The integrations we have with some of our third parties have provided several efficiencies … CSI APIs have allowed us to be more automated and offer some products we have not been able to offer.”

Among CSI’s offerings, the bank has adopted a host of modern technologies, such as CSI’s Center Doc solution and ACH Plus. It’s also an early adopter of CSI Call Center, an outsourced service in which CSI Fintexperts supplement the bank’s existing call center staff. According to Drone, the support CSI provides “helps alleviate some of our challenges of staffing on the weekends and after hours,” generating efficiency and happier customers.

Fostering a True Business Partnership

Throughout the more than 40-year relationship, Banterra Bank and CSI have both evolved. But one constant has remained – an emphasis on relationships that has turned what could have been simply a series of business transactions into a two-way technology partnership.

The key to this successful partnership has been collaboration. Drone notes the bank staff has developed healthy personal relationships with their CSI relationship managers that they know they can depend on. She describes CSI’s customer service as a key differentiator that has led to a “very positive experience” for decades.

When asked to elaborate, she says, “For the customer reps that we have a relationship with and for senior management within CSI, we see that they do care that their customers are growing, because if we’re successful they are successful.”

Banterra was also nominated for CSI’s inaugural Customer Advisory Board. This recurring meeting offers the opportunity for a rotating group of institutions to discuss industry trends, technology and CSI’s long-term strategic direction. Drone and other representatives from Banterra Bank share their voices and insight regarding future product development.

Regarding its partnership with CSI and contributions to the NuPoint Advisory Board, she adds, “our expectation is to make changes, to think forward, be forward thinking and proactive. And having that opportunity to do that is pretty great…I think that was an honor… you know, we have to collaborate, we have to work together.”

Banterra’s Ongoing Pursuit of Innovation

In a recent post, Banterra President & CEO Jeff May summed up the institution’s vision of the future: “With our growth and expansion, we continue to modernize our delivery systems and expand our team with new expertise. Banterra has multiple strategic teams working to fully digitize all our product lines and the customer service experience.”

According to Drone, in addition to working with CSI, the bank has implemented an overall strategic plan and technology strategy that includes a new department called the Office of Innovation. “They lead and research new technologies, including CSI’s new products, and they help to evaluate them and bring them to management,” she says.

Banterra Bank has risen to the top 8% of all U.S. chartered banks. Drone is confident the bank will continue to grow and achieve this vision with CSI by its side.

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