Growing Through Innovation

From the beautiful rivers of urban Grand Rapids, Michigan, to smaller rural locations, ChoiceOne Bank believes in community involvement - and their approach means leading with technology. ChoiceOne Bank is nationally recognized for their dedication to innovation. Combining a 120-year-history with a constant vision for the future proves to be a winning formula. 

When ChoiceOne Bank sought to increase the digital products available for their busy small businesses, they turned to another Michigan company at the forefront of innovation: Autobooks. The pairing resulted in even more national recognition, more business account growth, and more happy customers than ever.

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50% Adoption Increase

  • After partnering with Autobooks on a seasonal promotion campaign
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20 Logins per Month

  • Autobooks small business customers login more than other business customers
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3.4% Adoption

  • Qualified small business enrollment in first 12 months

A History of Innovation

ChoiceOne Bank was named one of the most innovative community banks in the country by the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA), the nation’s voice for over 5,800 community banks.

 

ChoiceOne Bank prides itself on supporting their local small business customers within their digital banking channels by offering mobile banking, mobile deposits, innovative payroll solutions, online loan applications and online account openings. By working with Autobooks, ChoiceOne Bank further expanded its digital offerings for businesses.

 

Autobooks wasn't just another vendor but a true partner, explains Tim Shangle, ChoiceOne's Digital Channels and Marketing Officer. From the vision of the leadership team to the ongoing customer support, every step of the implementation was done in tandem.

 

For ChoiceOne, the implementation was simple. Weekly phone calls provided updates on progress, and Tim and his team never felt like they had to ask what was going on - everything was upfront.

 

The partnership went beyond the technical setup, though. Once Autobooks was live inside of ChoiceOne's online banking, Autobooks continued to work with ChoiceOne and their employees on the product launch, including a seasonal campaign that yielded a 50% increase in product adoption. 

Autobooks helped us train our customers, helped us recruit new small businesses, and helped identify micro-businesses that were masquerading as a retail customers that we promoted to business customers.
tim shangle
Tim Shangle

Digital Channels and Marketing Officer, ChoiceOne Bank

There's More to Online Banking

Traditionally, online banking is a place where both retail and small business customers check balances pay bills, and execute transfers. ChoiceOne Bank understood their micro and small business customers needed more than that. They needed the ability to not only move money out of the bank, with bill pay, but also needed a simple way to accept payments directly into their business accounts.  Tim, who was recently appointed to the American Bankers Association (ABA) Emerging Leaders Council, and the executive team at ChoiceOne Bank found a solution that expanded the definition of business banking for small businesses.   

 

Autobooks successfully integrated with Jack Henry’s Silverlake core platform and NetTeller online banking platform to make it simple for businesses to leverage Autobooks directly within the financial institution’s existing digital banking channels.  Autobooks leverages Microsoft Azure to securely provide pre-built payment integrations that make it simple for small businesses to get paid via credit card, debit card, ACH, and check lockbox.  This level of integration not only increases customer engagement , but also supports deposit growth by making it simple to get paid directly into their ChoiceOne business checking accounts. 

 

It's exactly this type of innovation ChoiceOne is eager to bring their customers. The challenge was communicating the new product to their busy business owners. Whether it's the sole proprietor working out of their truck or a company with dozens of employees, being able to schedule time with them is difficult. 

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Expanding the Customer Base

ChoiceOne Bank has a robust marketing program to promote their existing products and services, but like many community banks, find launching new products and services challenging for constrained resources. Communicating the brand-new Autobooks partnership - not to mention explaining the functionality - was an additional task outside of the current marketing scope.

 

Because Autobooks works with financial institutions to ensure a successful launch, lending a hand to marketing is part of the package. ChoiceOne initially targeted their known business customers to promote Autobooks.

 

After the initial launch, Autobooks and ChoiceOne Bank analyzed the customer data and decided to promote Autobooks to a wider customer demographic.  This new audience included a segment of customers that bank had not traditionally identified as “business” customers.

 

Autobooks created in-branch marketing materials, social media posts, multi-step email campaigns, and applied calling outreach to engage ChoiceOne Bank's audience. Engaged businesses could sign up directly for Autobooks within the ChoiceOne digital banking channels, or could schedule time with the Autobooks Support Team to ask detailed product questions, see a product demo, or receive help in migrating from other third party products. 

 

The results of the relaunch netted ChoiceOne an increase of Autobooks adoption by 50%, and a total of 3.4% of the total customer base enrolled in the new product. This was an exciting moment of growth for a financial institution that constantly looks towards the future.

 

It won't be long before ChoiceOne grows even larger through their announced merger with County Bank Corp. The merger will double their footprint across Michigan, as well as doubling the asset size. ChoiceOne will have a differentiated small business solution they can now promote to a new audience, aiding in customer retention and growth. 

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