Achieving a Competitive Edge through Digital Innovation | CSI
Founded by a group of twelve community-minded visionaries in 1919, Williamstown Bank of Williamstown, West Virginia has a rich history. Operating in a rural marketplace, the bank has endured many changes in its over 100 years in business. Today, the institution remains prosperous with $200 million in assets and three separate locations. Commitments to innovation and adaptability—as well as its community-minded mission of giving back to local nonprofits and deserving beneficiaries—are among the core values that keep this independent community bank successful.
Since partnering with CSI in 1998, Williamstown Bank has built a suite of services that allow them to compete with larger banks. The institution was also among the first in its market to pioneer new digital banking technology. Striving to rival regional and national competitors, Sharon Anderson, president and CEO of the bank, recognizes what it takes to remain viable and relevant in today’s changing landscape. “You either adapt and evolve, or you get left behind,” she says.
Supplementing Tradition with ‘Game-Changing’ Innovation
Throughout the partnership, Williamstown Bank has eagerly adopted new solutions integrated with CSI’s core platform—including digital account opening, digital banking solutions, multiple payments solutions, P2P, mobile deposits and numerous other customer-centric offerings— all the “bells and whistles of larger institutions.”
When it comes to their pioneering efforts, Anderson proudly says, “We’re not afraid to try new things.” As for measuring its success, the institution has benefitted tremendously from its forward-thinking approach to banking.
Williamstown Bank opened the doors to its most innovative branch yet in January of 2020. With an eye on evolving customer needs, the site in Parkersburg, West Virginia offers many non-traditional features. In addition to the latest technologies, the advanced branch features an open floor plan, a donation-based coffee shop, outdoor seating and public Wi-Fi. Williamstown Bank also opted to forego the standard teller line for some of the first Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs) in their market.
“We launched and deployed the ITMs right before COVID, and that innovation allowed us to turn our operations on a dime at the onset of COVID,” Anderson recalls. “During that time, we were able to provide live video teller support if people were out of the office, keep our drive-throughs running and expand our service hours to our customers.”
Anderson reflects on how digital banking technology and ITMs delivered convenience, efficiency, personalized customer service and a high-quality banking experience to their customers during the crisis: “Without the partnership and support from CSI, we wouldn’t have been able to offer those services to our customers.”
More Than a Number
Pandemic aside, the bank strives to be first-to-market with many of its products and services and leverage that technology to its fullest potential. Through any implementation process, Anderson and her team are confident knowing they can rely on their core and that the bank’s systems will function without “hiccups.”
Along with a smooth adoption process that delivers a top-notch customer experience, Anderson says the relationship with CSI’s people makes everything work smoothly. “CSI shines when the unexpected happens,” she says. “In this day, there’s not enough emphasis put on being able to talk to a person. With CSI, we know we’re going to get a live person and that someone is working on our ticket.”
“Without the partnership and support from CSI, we wouldn’t have been able to offer those services to our customers.”
President and CEO
“The support we’ve received from CSI as we’ve rolled out new things has always been really strong,” Anderson reflected. “You build trust through the implementation process and then get these products that work seamlessly for the customers, which is important. We trust that we’ll get feedback and insight and that we’re not just a number.”
Onward and Upward
Today, Williamstown Bank is one of the few community banks left in their market and is building a fourth location, set to open in the summer of 2023. Anderson credits the longevity of their partnership with CSI as one of the reasons Williamstown Bank can grow, offer its customers the most cutting-edge services and remain competitive against larger institutions.
According to Anderson, “What sets CSI apart from their competitors is their focus on relationships and the commitment and support they give to community banks that might just get lost in the shuffle at other core providers.”
As for the future of the partnership and her outlook on growth, Anderson is optimistic. “I look forward to continuing to grow the services that CSI offers. I would rather be on the front-edge than playing catch up. It’s my goal that, when I retire twenty years from now, people still see us as that innovative little bank.”