For First National Bank of Central Texas in Waco, building longstanding ties with its commercial customers means emphasizing personalized, face-to-face interactions.

The $800-million asset bank primarily caters to small-to-midsize business owners who don't have the time in their hectic schedules to come into bank branches to conduct financial business.

"We compete with the big boys, so we have to look at ways to differentiate ourselves," said Steve Mullens, an executive vice president of operations for the bank. "Our customers are very busy — many of them are sole proprietors — so we often have to go to their place of business to meet their needs."

To be better able to serve customers on their own turf, the bank bought a new account opening solution for iPads from FIS in late spring 2015. Now, bankers can complete the entire new account function remotely on the tablet, including the signing of signature cards, check ordering, debit card ordering and providing basic customer services outside of a branch. While the service is also available to open individual retail accounts remotely, it's in business banking where the biggest impact has been realized.

Besides the convenience it provides customers, the new technology has also digitized the account opening process. Documents are emailed to the customer and all of the internal documents are electronically delivered to the bank's imaging system and archived. The solution is interfaced with the bank's core system, FIS's BancPac, and the accounts are opened directly from the iPad.

"The old process was very slow and cumbersome," Mullens said. "There would be a lot of back and forth, we'd have to print documents and image them. Now every document is digital and stored in our systems without paper being produced. It's a seamless process."

Mullens said the bank intends to expand the service to be able to close loans remotely within the next 18 months.

"For example, our ag lender could quite literally close a loan right out in the cornfield, on the hood of a tractor," he said. "These days, people don't come into bank branches as much as they used to … any way we create that personal interaction is something we are interested in."