Experts in Growth: How COCC Supported Easthampton Savings Bank’s Growth to over $1 Billion in Assets
Since 1869, Easthampton Savings Bank has built its business around the people it serves. As a hometown community bank in Massachusetts, Easthampton Savings Bank upholds a tradition of supporting communities and helping neighbors. With office locations in Easthampton, Southampton, Northampton, Hadley, South Hadley, Belchertown, Westfield and Agawam, Easthampton Savings Bank is modeled to meet the needs of families and small business alike. Easthampton Savings Bank pledges to deliver fully insured products and services that exceed the expectations of their customers.
In early 2000, Easthampton Savings Bank recognized the need to move away from dated systems that constrained their banking environment. Easthampton Savings Bank executives made the decision to embrace emerging technology to increase the efficiency of their operations and improve the services they offered their clients. They would need a system that was adaptable to rapidly changing industry needs.
COCC: A Perfect-Fit Solution and Provider
COCC, Easthampton Savings Bank’s core partner since 1987, were pioneers in recognizing the need to migrate from old mainframe technology to a new client server platform utilizing a .NET framework. Easthampton Savings Bank executives quickly saw the compatibility with their approach and signed on to be early adopters. Taking this initiative has enabled Easthampton Savings Bank to leverage the technology to create efficiency and improve customer service over the past decade. As the adoption of online banking technology increased they also recognized the need for improved integration between core processing and online banking systems. For the second time they partnered with COCC to be an early adopter, and together they developed a virtual branch location to meet the growing needs of online customers today and in the future. This innovative approach set the stage for ongoing development of the online platform that will allow customers to conduct virtually all of their banking business online using any device of their choice.
How COCC Surpassed Four Competing iBanking Providers
The Three Primary Drivers Behind Easthampton Savings Bank’s Choice:
- COCC’s conversion experience and collaborative approach
- Advanced processes supporting the conversion of 10,000 customers with minimal disruption
- Ability to leverage core technology systems to offer advanced feature functionality to customers
The Right Interface:
COCC has proved to be an exceptional partner because of its ability to layer online banking on top of core systems, eliminating the need for yet another third-party vendor.
With COCC’s iBanking platform, Easthampton Savings Bank was able to:
- Offer a seamless transition to a more modern graphical user interface
- Extend new services to customers and enable ease of development for future services
- Avoid complications that come with managing relationships with multiple vendors
Lynn Starr, Easthampton Savings Bank’s EVP and CIO of Technology and Operations indicated that “electronic services are costly, and as adoption grows for many banks, having a vendor that cooperates in the management of growing expenses is critical. COCC was able to offer pricing that will allow Easthampton Savings Bank to leverage our online banking services to create efficiencies and reduce expenses driven to the bottom line.”
Planning and Execution: The Implementation Process
After COCC was chosen to complete the project, they worked with Easthampton Savings Bank experts to ensure a smooth implementation. Together, they endeavored to define the feature functionality that Easthampton Savings Bank customers were asking for, to set and develop priorities and to put plans together for a seamless conversion. As partners, Easthampton Savings Bank and COCC were committed to solving complex technology issues to deliver a solution that would anticipate customer needs now and in the future. COCC‘s platform also offered a dynamic marketing tool that supported communication to customers as the new system was launched to ensure streamlined adoption.
Within the first two weeks of the initial conversion, 75% of online banking customers completed their first-time login successfully. Customer contact rates were less than 13% for first-time logins and less than 3% for all logins. After only two days following the implementation, operations reverted back to normal hours, allowing the bank to discontinue extended customer care hours.
A Partnership Founded on Communication and Customer Service
“The decision to be an early adopter of the new COCC iBanking platform was based on a trust developed as part of our long standing partnership,” Starr said. “COCC is a partner, not a vendor. We view ourselves as a team – we undertook a high-risk transition of our customer-facing online banking environment which we believe was extremely successful. We each brought innovative ideas to the table to collaborate and develop plans to create a best of breed online banking system.”
“Nine months after conversion we have continued to partner with COCC to enhance the features and functionality of this critical customer platform,” Starr continued. “COCC takes feedback seriously when we express an idea. Their executives understand our business and are committed to the delivery of excellence with innovative banking solutions.”
“COCC truly embraces the challenge of developing partnerships and delivering customer service that enables them to differentiate themselves from other vendors. When they stumble (as we all do) and don’t get it quite right, they listen to their customers, recognize the need to make adjustments and work hard to improve. They are a better company as a result.”
Continued Success from a Company that Fights for Betterment
COCC is dedicated to strategizing what the future could bring in the world of banking, in addition to preparing customers for the challenges of tomorrow. From reaching out to discuss emerging mobile trends and payment trends, to other evolutions in the industry, COCC helps keep the companies and partners they work with relevant.
COCC’s technologies always keep pace with governmental compliance changes. With all of the compliance shifts that have taken place in the banking world over the last several years alone, Starr stated that she couldn’t think of a single regulation that COCC products hadn’t complied with at her bank. “With their commitment to the industry,” Starr said, “compliance is not an issue.”
In COCC’s annual client user group meeting, all of their users gather without any COCC representatives in the room to discuss common issues. The group then determines which issues they want to push forward to COCC. These user groups deliver insight on new features and allows COCC to get a direct answer to the question: “What do you really want to improve and how can we help you be successful?”
“We have grown from a $300 million dollar institution to over $1 billion dollars in 2015,” said Starr. “We recently announced the acquisition of a $330 million dollar community bank in CT. We fully expect to rely on COCC and their conversion expertise to help us continue our success. We could not have reached our current size without COCC’s support of the increasing sophistication of products and services we offer our customers.”