Finding opportunities for rapid deposit growth has been tough for community banks, but First Arkansas has found a Web enabled way to boost deposits and nationalize an otherwise regional footprint.

By tapping an online account-opening engine, the institution has seen its internet-generated deposits grow to $30 million from about $3 million since the end of 2008. “A smart phone and a laptop can be a branch,” says Larry Daniel, director of retail development for First Arkansas (FAB&T), which has $525 million in total assets.
For FAB&T, added benefits come from the ability to draw deposits from well outside its central Arkansas territory—which comes in handy when trying to retain its mobile customer base. “We have a lot of military personnel locally. And as military folks were being transferred around the country, we were having attrition among that segment,” Daniel says. “Online account opening allows us to have a chance to keep those customers.”

FAB&T’s vendor, First ROI, has teamed with MeridianLink to develop INMO, an account opening engine that leverages the web, call center, branch and kiosk to facilitate ID verification, applicant screening and account funding for deposit products. First ROI is attempting to stake out a position in the crowded online account opening market—other providers include Andera and Metavante—by targeting community banks with a model that charges the banks based on successfully opened accounts.
“Community banks have been getting their clocks cleaned, and big part of fixing that is by tapping the online channel,” says John Waupsh, CEO of First ROI.

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