An App UpgrAde Offers COmpetitive AdvAntAge tO smAll BAnks By ClInt Bryant I n today’s rapidly expanding digital ecosystem, consumers’ mindsets are shifting to a “need access now” philosophy, even when it comes to banking. Waynesboro, Tenn.-based Wayne County Bank was determined to adopt a mobile application to meet this demand for instant access and demonstrate that, even as a smaller institution in a rural community, it could bring its customer base the same, advanced technology as the mega-banks. The bank’s goal was to leverage the mobile channel to offer optimal convenience to its customers while simultaneously proving its ability to keep up with technology. Wayne County Bank had previously dipped its toe in the mobile water with an offering that was not a true mobile app but rather a web-based “wrapped app.” Customers could only gain access to it through a mobile device’s web browser. In addi-tion to a problematic and inconvenient access point, the design was aesthetically dated and the user interface was cumbersome. The bank recognized the need to identify a new partner ca-pable of creating a higher-quality mobile experience in order to see stronger adoption of mobile among its customers. Wayne County Bank knew it needed a true branded native mobile ap-plication, capable of operating seamlessly on any mobile device. Because of the bank’s rural location, management immedi-ately realized the benefits that a mobile app would bring to its customers, many of whom do not live close to a branch. Wayne County Bank wanted an app with sophisticated functionality, but also one that would be simple for users to navigate and enjoy. As larger banks in the area continued to offer mobile capabili-ties, Wayne County Bank knew it was just a matter of time before its customers would expect the same, advanced mobile experience of its competitors. The bank decided to explore true mobile apps, ultimately selecting Malauzai as its partner since the company focuses specifically on providing applications to community fi-nancial institutions, and had a strong understanding of the bank’s objectives and its customers’ distinct banking needs. Wayne County Bank implemented Malauzai’s Consumer SmartApp, a flexible, scalable and native mobile-only experience for iPhone, iPad and Android; the bank did not want customers’ ability to take advantage of the app to rely on their devices. By shifting from a web-based app to the true mobile platform, the bank was able to offer several new features, including ac-count balance information, remote deposit capture capabilities, SmarText Ð a feature that allows users to quickly check their balances without a standard login Ð as well as a branch locator, “contact us” feature and the ability to share with social media connections. Malauzai also created an interface with an appear-ance completely customized to Wayne County Bank. Wayne County Bank became one of the first community banks in the area to offer a mobile banking app, demon-strating to its customers that it could be just as progressive as the big banks. App enAbles remote deposIt for rurAl customers Since launching the app, Wayne County Bank has expe-rienced 23 percent annual active user growth rate. The bank sees customers continue to learn about the app and download it at the same high rate. Customers often share their appreciation of the app’s contemporary look and are actively using its range of capabilities. The mobile remote deposit capture function is among the most commonly used features. The use of remote deposit cap-ture has grown by more than 60 percent annually. Giving cus-tomers a tool to deposit checks remotely with a mobile device has been life-changing for those who might not be able to make it to a branch easily, but want faster access to their funds. Additionally, the bank has even seen customers opt to purchase smartphones, citing its mobile banking app as a primary catalyst. Within six months of launch, mobile app usage surpassed tele-phone banking, and within nine months, mobile app logins exceeded online banking. The reduction of incoming calls frees employees’ time to focus on other areas or serving customers in-branch. Image © exdez/iStock the competItIve AdvAntAge As one of the first to market in its area with a mobile app, Wayne County Bank continues to be a leader in the mobile arena, and among other community institutions looking to not just level the playing field but truly outcompete their peers. And the bank is not resting on its laurels; it is committed to working with its partner to constantly improve the app based on technology advances and emerging customer needs. The bank aims to expand the mobile app with person-to-person payments, fingerprint scanning, statement access and the implementation of the SmartwebApp, the online banking product that has the same look and feel as the mobile app. Wayne County Bank hopes these continuous improvements will appeal to a younger generation of customers and encourage them to stay with the bank for years to come. Clint Bryant is IT manager for Wayne County Bank in Waynesboro, Tenn. For more information about the Malauzai mobile app, visit www.malauzai.com.