February 10, 2020 | Success Story

Using APIs to Reach a Nationwide Community

Redefining “Community”

When thinking of a community bank, most people think of a location, a bank serving a relatively small geographic area. However, for the team at OneUnited Bank, “community” stretches across the nation.

Based in Boston, MA, OneUnited is the largest black-owned bank in the nation with physical branches in Boston, Miami and Los Angeles. Its growth has come in part from its branding, taking an “unapologetically Black” approach to financial wellness. The bank has built a large and growing base on social media, contributing to topics relevant to the brand, not necessarily tied to banking. In doing so, OneUnited has built a nationwide community across affinity lines instead of those seen on a map.

OneUnited used the brand recognition from social media and increased website traffic to encourage its followers to “Bank Black” and share their heritage with specially designed debit cards featuring images that celebrate black culture. The bank also empowered its customers to choose the design on their card. With increased demand for the card spreading across the nation, OneUnited needed a way to onboard new customers in a footprint much wider than its three metro areas and get its debit cards to these new customers. In short, they needed a way to efficiently open new checking accounts online.

“What we found was that the platforms we’d been using were too expensive for online account opening,” shared Jim Slocum, Chief Information Officer at OneUnited. “The burden of online account opening shouldn’t outweigh the benefit of growth.”

So they developed their own unique customer acquisition system using the Salesforce development platform. When it came to efficiently putting that platform to use, the bank turned to its technology partner, COCC.


Leveraging APIs and Data Integration

OneUnited leveraged COCC’s open architecture and existing APIs to integrate their new platform directly into the INSIGHT core, allowing for real-time data integration and a streamlined account opening process. With support and clear documentation, the API integration also enabled account applications and customer data to flow between the institution’s Salesforce platform and the core. The change supported onboarding efficiency, allowed for easy access and use of customer data in the core, and cut the cost of online account opening by nearly 75% per approved application.

“COCC came to the table willing to work with us and be creative to accomplish our business needs,” commented Jim, “The flexibility of the COCC team and INSIGHT enabled us to accomplish our task.”

For Slocum, that flexibility, along with the easy access to customer data, powered OneUnited to grow efficiently and to define its own community without considering square mileage around a branch location. “We look at serving our community digitally, not geographically. The technology partner we have in COCC helps us break down those geographic barriers and deliver what our customers expect.”

As OneUnited continues to reach its community through the digital space, building custom applications and delivering impactful, leading-edge banking solutions that its clients expect, COCC’s technology and flexibility will be there to facilitate the bank’s initiatives.


OneUnited Bank


OneUnited Bank began almost 50 years ago with the opening of Unity Bank & Trust in Boston, Massachusetts. OneUnited Bank was established by combining Black-owned banks across the country – Founders National Bank of Commerce in Los Angeles, Family Savings Bank in Los Angeles, Peoples National Bank of Commerce in Miami and Boston Bank of Commerce – with the same mission, to create an institution to garner our spending power and channel it back into the communities we serve.

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