First Reliance Bank Case Study

The Customer

Founded in 1999, First Reliance Bank has grown to become one of the top twenty banks in South Carolina. It was included in the top 25 fastest growing companies in South Carolina, four times in succession—the only organization ever to be honored in this way. In 2006, 2007 and 2008 the bank was recognized as one of the best places to work in South Carolina by the SC Chamber of Commerce. Today, First Reliance has assets of $637m, employs over 150 associates and has six branches with another under construction.

First Reliance’s official strategy of being “Easy to Do Business With” has earned the bank a remarkable customer satisfaction rating of 97.3%. This strategy is based on innovations such as extended opening hours and a commitment to offering the highest levels of service that meet the needs of its customers.

The Challenge

As part of First Reliance’s commitment to offer high levels of customer satisfaction, they were eager to improve the transaction processing times at their drive-thru branch in Florence, South Carolina. First Reliance has many cash- intensive customers, such as convenience stores and restaurants, who use the drive-thru to make sizeable deposits. The problem was the wait time associated with these transactions—it was simply taking too long.

Many of First Reliance’s competitors either refuse to take large business deposits through their drive-thru branches or limit how much a customer can deposit in one transaction —the opposite of First Reliance’s belief in being easy to do business with. What they wanted was a powerful, reliable system capable of taking even the largest deposits in its stride.

After researching the issue they realized they had two options—spend several hundred thousand dollars expanding the drive-thru, so it could handle more cars, or find a way of reducing transaction times so that cars could move through more quickly. First Reliance realized the construction option was an expensive compromise that might not produce the right results. They knew there had to be a better way; the question, of course, was what?

The Solution

The solution to this challenge came in the form of the NCR Cash Recycler. This compact machine provided the ideal mix of flexibility and functionality to address First Reliance’s problem.

The NCR Cash Recycler offers First Reliance fast, reliable and highly convenient service to its drive-thru customers. It automates the acceptance, authentication and validation of note deposits while simultaneously making the cash instantly available for dispensing to customers. Designed to improve the productivity of the teller’s role, the Cash Recycler significantly speeds up transactions, reduces wait times and improves customer interaction.

One of the features that makes the NCR Cash Recycler ideal for First Reliance is its unique continuous feed functionality, which ensures that there’s no need for the feeder mechanism to stop when depositing more than 150 notes in a single transaction. This permits a smooth, continuous service even for large deposits. And unlike the majority of cash recyclers available today there is no physical escrow, elevators or hoppers to reposition, or doors to open before adding more notes. This virtual escrow helps cut deposit transaction times, while making the NCR Cash Recycler particularly easy to maintain.

The Solution Benefits

The NCR Cash Recycler delivered exactly what First Reliance wanted—the ability to quickly process large drive-thru deposits without the need to hire additional staff as transaction volumes rise. The ability of the Cash Recycler to concurrently count and store cash not only reduces transaction times but also frees First Reliance’s drive-thru teller to concentrate on higher value activities. In short, the NCR Cash Recycler eliminates tedious administrative tasks that don’t add value to First Reliance’s customer service.

The NCR Cash Recycler specifically fits their branch strategy by allowing them to open new locations where building a traditional vault is either too costly or just not possible, without sacrificing security. First Reliance’s current plan is to include NCR Cash Recyclers in their future branch expansion. This allows them to operate more flexible staffing models, which is particularly important to the bank because of their extended operating hours.

An additional benefit is the ability to quickly change deposit denominations to match customer requirements. For example, on a Friday First Reliance might configure the NCR Cash Recycler to accept mainly hundred dollar bills, while on a Monday they might concentrate on accepting twenties. Re-configuring the machine in this way is highly intuitive and can be performed quickly and easily by branch staff with a minimum of training.

Feedback from tellers suggests the NCR Cash Recycler has proved extremely popular, with some tellers wondering how they managed without it. First Reliance has also received numerous positive comments from customers regarding the reduced wait time at their drive-thru.