Mobile Can’t Stand Alone

Earlier this month I interviewed the team at Reliant Bank, for an article that will post Monday on The piece is a look inside the late summer release of the community bank’s mobile app, but something I couldn’t include in the story was the other efforts the bank is making to achieve growth in a tough economy. Is a mobile app increasingly becoming a consumer expectation? You betcha. But a mobile app alone won’t generate growth. What else is your bank offering its customers?

Do your customers feel rewarded?

If community banking is largely about relationships, do your customers feel the love? Reliant Bank, a newer community bank in an affluent community, offers rewards checking – not exactly novel, but something that Brian Shaw, chief retail and deposit officer, says has resulted in significant growth of the bank’s client base. Customers earn interest for doing things like using their debit card ten times a month, using online bill pay for transactions, and using online banking. Pretty basic stuff that also encourages their customer base to do more online (which probably saves Reliant money too).

Reliant also waves ATM fees – an important thing for a community bank that can’t be on every corner.

Are you reaching out to current – and future – customers?

If you’ve visited this blog before, you know I’m a big fan of financial literacy. As part of their financial literacy program, Reliant offers a popular, high-interest child’s savings account. Reliant has been able to talk to kids in the schools, and the kids are rewarded for saving with $25 from the bank (or a giftcard). Kids are taught to save – and rewarded for it – with the help of Reliant Bank.

Reliant Bank is also active on Facebook, using the channel to notify customers of new programs (like mobile banking) and for community outreach. If you take a look at their page, most of their posts over the past week are about community events, like a bake sale, customer appreciation days, and seminars available to the public.

What does your bank offer that stands out?

Reliant Bank offers a Groupon-like ‘Raving Fan’ program, connecting Reliant’s business clients to retail customers.

The ‘Raving Fan’ program features local businesses, like area restaurants. Reliant’s retail clients appreciate the discounts to local businesses, while their business clients appreciate the free advertising and connection to consumers.

I love hearing stories of banks that are doing something different. Do you know of a retail bank doing something a little different? Maybe a unique branch concept, or a branding standout? Comment below, or email me at emccormick[at]

Update: The article “Reliant on Mobile”, detailing Reliant Bank’s summer release of their mobile app, is now available.



  1. Emily,

    This is a really good add-on to the upcoming Bank Director article. We have become so smitten with mobile that we may be losing our heads. People (businesses and individuals) just want banks to make managing their finances simple. It is too complex today, having to manage business cash flow, our own retirement money, etc. The banks that make it simple will have a competitive advantage. Mobile is a piece of the puzzle, but it’s not the whole pie.

    In terms of ideas, I really like the bank using its Facebook page as THE portal for community news. That means bank employees are scouring the multitudes of sources of information and linking from their page… a valuable service. But for banks with branches in multiple and often disparate communities, this means allowing branch level people manage their own Facebook page. No compliance officer has bought into this concept. I think they should, within easy to follow guidelines.

    One idea from a bank client: Run a business plan contest for local businesses, using in-market customers/professionals as judges, and award a meaningful prize to the winner. The Nashua Bank did this and it was a success.

    This was a pretty long-winded comment, as I look at it. Sorry for eating up the bits and bytes!

    ~ Jeff

    • Thanks for commenting, and I agree (obviously) that mobile is just one piece of the puzzle.

      You make a good point re: branches in multiple communities – Reliant Bank, which I interviewed, just announced expansion into another county here in Tennessee. It’s on the other side of Nashville, so I look forward to seeing how this changes management of their social media and marketing efforts.

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