In October of 2015, we began what has become a multi-year process of addressing issues related to growing deposit market share. When Craig Simmers, Founder of Stellar Strategic Group, asked me to share some of our experiences during the past two years, I knew this was an important topic to share. This article will break out the key steps along with a short overview for each.

Step 1: Design a revamped checking line-up. Like many banks have done over recent years, we decided to reduce our checking options from eight to three. This streamlining of accounts allows our client service staff to review each in detail with prospective customers while still meeting the needs of a varied customer base. We launched the revised line-up in October of 2015, with positive results seen almost immediately.

Step 2: Develop a comprehensive checking acquisition program. We launched our program with Stellar at the same time we launched our new checking line-up. We are now in our 10th campaign and very happy with the results. I strongly recommend everyone follow the next several steps as they all play a critical role in executing an affective and profitable checking acquisition program.

Step 3: Identify competitors that are vulnerable. Knowing what consumers to target is based on numerous factors. One of the most important is considering where prospects, most likely, currently bank. We have pricing and product advantages over several of our competitors that own significant market share. Knowing where our branch footprints overlap is a key factor in our targeting.

Step 4: Track and address customer attrition. This is something that most banks do not focus on and we were no different before we started our program. This became a major focus once we realized how costly the loss of our customer base was when analyzing replacement costs. While a large percentage of attrition is uncontrollable, there is a percentage that can be addressed. A small reduction in attrition can play a major role in accelerating growth and has tremendous budget implications.

Step 5: Create a program to track and address the customer experience. We have determined Net Promoter Score is the best approach to measure the customer experience. This is a program that surveys recent transactors and tracks their responses on a branch, region, and company level. Once we accumulate the responses from our customer base we can then address some of the issues they identify. This will directly address our attrition issue.

Step 6: Ensure your digital presence is strong. Marketing for our checking acquisition program is a combination of traditional direct mail and several supporting digital initiatives. To maximize digital efforts, we first had to ensure our digital presence was strong. That’s even more important today as mobile now plays a prominent role when people are searching online for banking products and services, such as checking accounts.

Step 7: Treat every branch as a separate business. This approach has been critical given our size (63 branches). Regardless of your branch count, I would strongly recommend this approach. Competitors and account opening trends vary from location to location, and ultimately, you’ll identify where your marketing dollars should be focused. The fact is not all branch locations have the same marketing opportunity nor can they be expected to grow at the same pace.

Step 8: Track, Track, and Track more. Regardless of how expansive your marketing budget may be, it’s imperative you track every effort on a continuous basis. This is critical to success and we have embraced this approach. Setting control routes and benchmarks are just two examples that we have utilized to measure success with our program.

As bank marketers, there’s always more we’d like to accomplish, but we have clearly experienced how growing retail market share can be done. It will always be a work in progress to keep optimizing results, but we are committed to the process, and confident of achieving success. I sincerely hope sharing this information will be beneficial to others.

Good luck to all my fellow bank marketers!

Independent Bank

With nearly 11 years in the banking industry, Tricia Raquepaw offers a wealth of marketing insight and leadership for Independent Bank in Michigan. You can reach Tricia at

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