The F&M Bank Business Case
There’s something to be said for the family feeling in community banks. All the people know you, and you likely know them from local events or functions.
The problem is, that comfortable feeling doesn’t always help keep financial institutions on the cutting edge. While they deliver hometown service, they forego big city efficiency. And nowadays, it isn’t a matter of cost that keeps smaller FIs small, it’s a matter of embracing technology and deploying it strategically.
Because the region is one of the fastest growing in Virginia, F&M Bank wanted to build off its heritage as a valuable resource for its long-time rural customers as well as the influx of new businesses and people that are moving into the region.
Established in 1908, F&M Bank’s roots are built into the community of Timberville, VA, where it started. And 110 years later, F&M is still called ‘our bank’ by the people and businesses that continue to grow its customer rolls.
Now it has 175 employees, manages $750 million in assets and has branches throughout in 4 counties throughout the Shenandoah Valley in western and central Virginia. It is also a publicly traded stock.
For 2017, F&M beat out regional powerhouse BB&T and national behemoth Wells Fargo for first time deposits in the Rockingham County-Harrisonburg market, according to FDIC data.
F&M wasn’t simply interested in remaining relevant in its fast-changing region. It wanted to be the first choice when people and businesses were shopping for a bank.
It wanted to be a community bank for the 21st century. A bank where technology could enrich the experience for both the customers and the bank by building new relationships with data.
“Our region is fairly diverse. We have a large university, farmers, businesses, large corporations and all of these sectors are growing rapidly.” said Executive Vice President, Chief Banking Officer Stephanie Shillingburg.
“From focus groups and consumer survey data, we were repeatedly hearing that customers wanted a broad ‘financial snapshot’ as well as a budgeting feature in online banking to help them plan and save.” We knew there were third party personal financial management (PFM) tools out there but we wanted to work with our customers at the local level rather than send them outside of the bank to a third party. Partnering with a white label vendor like Geezeo gave us the option to brand our own PFM solution with the help of their years of fintech experience by our side.”
“We knew that if we could offer the same conveniences of larger financial institutions along with the personal touch of a community bank, we could be very competitive. The challenge was how to do this without trying to compete by outspending the big regional and national competition in our markets.”