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Encore Bank Elevates Customer Experience in Digital Banking

Providing an exceptional customer experience is a must in today’s financial and banking environment. As we move deeper into the digital age of banking, financial institutions need to reinvent the traditional customer experience to align with the expectations of today’s digital savvy consumers.

Not only has Encore Bank accomplished this task, they’ve excelled at creating innovative solutions to the benefit of their banking customers. 

The Digital Challenges Community Banks Face

According to The Harris Poll and Unit study, 100% of small business owners find at least one element of their business banking experience to be unsatisfactory.

Download the free industry report: Bankers as Buyers 2023 from William Mills Agency for more on these stats. 

Too bad implementing new technology isn’t as simple as buying a product and flipping a switch. Banks—especially community banks—face several obstacles in order to offer the latest and greatest services to their customers. 

Although many banks may face these challenges, some banks, like Encore Bank, have found innovative ways to give their customers and teams an outstanding banking experience. 

Encore Bank,  formerly known as the Capital Bank, took an unconventional approach to its growth strategy and created products and services that would attract digital customers. Since its rebranding and transformation to Encore Bank in 2019, the bank's asset size has grown organically from $165 million to an impressive $3.85 billion, as of March 30, 2023.

So, how exactly did they accomplish such a feat? We recently sat down with Erin Simpson, Encore Bank's COO, to learn more about their digital strategies.

Encore’s Strategies to Elevate CX 

Encore Bank has a unique approach to their digital growth. Instead of staying stuck in the stone ages of banking, company leadership saw the need to innovate and invest in their employees, customers, and ultimately, technology.

Invest in technology. When Encore first started, it was a one-branch bank. But the goal was to create a bank built on technology. With a small customer base, leadership was comfortable letting go of all the old technology that wasn’t serving the company. They pursued options that would benefit their internal (employees) and external (customers) clients.

As Encore worked to improve its digital experience, Erin says they assessed the biggest priority for the bank as far as where they were the most behind digitally. “For us, it was our loan origination system because there were so many different areas of entry for data. Employees had to manually re-enter data so many times, it was very inefficient. For the customer, there was nothing digital about it from the application all the way through signing their documents."

Now, Encore has an online process for loans that never leaves its digital system. Through the online application, customers access a portal to upload documents that allow the bank’s loan officers to begin a transaction within the system. Loan officers can order credit reports, title work, and flood certificates as well as perform underwriting. All the documents are processed in the same system and generate the appropriate paperwork for the customer to sign electronically. 

Understand the real ROI on technology. There is a price to pay when creating an efficient and beneficial customer experience. Erin points out that many banking executives are apprehensive about new digital solutions because some of the technology is expensive. If they are unfamiliar with the benefits of digital banking, they won’t pursue opportunities to invest heavily in a digital transformation of the organization.

In the end, however, “Encore’s FTE headcount is so much lower because we are leveraging technology to do things,” Erin says. Encore Bank’s embrace of technology is one of the many reasons the bank feels it could eventually reach an asset size of around $8 billion and sustain it with less than 400 employees. 

Create a process that encourages the development of innovative solutions. Encore Bank created a group called the Projects and Priorities Committee. This group features members of management from different parts of the bank who identify and prioritize projects that will serve the organization internally or externally.

“This committee has played a pivotal role in our innovation strategy and helps us answer critical questions, like who we should partner with and what solutions we should put in place,” Erin says. 

Craft a strong company culture. Another culprit that deters digital innovation in the banking industry is the internal company attitude toward new technology. If employees and bank executives are not on board with implementing new tools or products, even the best products in the world will fail. 

Being unable to show the positive impacts of digital transformation within a financial institution leaves many individuals wondering why they need to change current workflow processes. Without the why, they are not motivated to learn about the complex software that should be adopted. 

Encore Bank has overcome multiple hurdles by investing in technology with high ROI and creating an ownership mindset among employees. 

Erin says, “Nearly 100% of Encore Bank’s employees are stockholders of the bank. So, they have an ownership mentality. We encourage our teams to think like owners. This encourages them to be more efficient and use resources wisely.”

Encore’s dedication to creating a culture of innovation and finding the right partner for the job is paying off.  

Form relationships with like-minded partners. Erin says Encore searches for partnerships with companies that are using the same kind of technology and want to continue to grow and invest in their products. It’s also important for them to partner with companies committed to providing excellent customer service. 

“We want partners who are going to pick up the phone and talk to us. It's important to us to have supportive partners who are willing to answer our questions,” Erin says. “That level of support is probably the most important quality when we select a partner. It’s what we were looking for when we sought out a middleware layer partner, and then found that in the Core10 team.”

Encore Finds the Right Partner in Core10

For Encore Bank, finding the right partner is key to their success. Core10’s innovative solutions and dedication to customer satisfaction made us the perfect fit for a thriving collaboration.

Erin says their next priority is to implement commercial online account opening, which is why they are working with Core10’s Accrue product

“We decided that Core10 needed to house all our data, and we wanted to have connectivity between all of our systems. We also wanted the ability to integrate more quickly and have portability as technology changes. That’s why we’re working with Core10’s Mesh solution as our middleware piece. “

At Core10, we strive to be a collaborative partner because our client’s success is our success. 

Erin confirms, “It's been a great partnership between all of us. There are five organizations present for this monumental digital banking integration which has gone very smoothly with the integration to a new core, a new bank and with a new middleware layer. This level of partnership is rare. You just don’t always have this.”

Elevating CX With Core10’s Mesh Solution

With the help of Core10, Encore Bank implemented a solution that powers core and fintech connections on a cloud-based, single-tenant, event-driven microservices platform. This allows the bank to offer customers the best-available banking technology by easily integrating new products and services from their partners. 

Core10’s Mesh solution provides our clients with:

  • Integration Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS): Seamlessly connect to cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications with traditional on-premise solutions, enabling efficient integration and data flow between two environments.
  • Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS): Quickly and easily expand your BaaS solution by offering integration to the core and other technology partners. This allows you to own the customer relationship, data, and compliance controls.
  • Business Insights & Analytics: Harness the power of data-driven insights and advanced automation strategies to unlock new opportunities to generate revenue, all while enhancing operational efficiency and maximizing profitability.

Reinventing customer experience for your community bank doesn’t have to be a burden. Find a partner who can elevate your digital services to give your customers what they want. Let Core10 help you build the roadmap to success. Contact us today!

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