Hampden Bank in Springfield, Mass., is looking at its rivals. Literally. Across the street from the community bank are four financial services companies, including two large financial institutions. "We have to compete," says Sheryl Shinn, senior vice president of information technology and operations.

To do so, the community bank knows it needs to improve its digital banking since consumers increasingly use the channels to transact.

A year ago, when Hampden Bank was preparing to replace its online banking vendor with Q2, one area in strong need of improvement was online enrollment. At the time, its process of manually giving online banking credentials to customers could take up to two days because customers had to fill out about 15 fields of data and back office staff would need to verify the information and make a note in the core to allow online access.

As Hampden uses Fiserv's core, it could buy an app for the core to ease the enrollment process -- Fiserv's January purchase of Open Solutions gave the bank tech provider its DNAappstore, which is something like an iTunes for core banking apps. The store, which launched in May 2011, offers a development toolset that lets customers build apps vetted by the vendor (or built by it) to work with DNA core banking.

"They come out all the time," says Shinn. "We have a wish list of apps to install to satisfy business needs." Some DNAapps are free, while others cost $10,000 to $25,000.

Of the 187 DNAapps now available in the store, the bank chose to purchase the electronic agreement app for $6,500 to solve its enrollment issue. Hampden went live with its online banking conversion and enrollment app in March. So far, so good.

Since the app was deployed, customers can enroll by entering five data fields. "It takes one to two minutes instead of 24 to 48 hours," Shinn says.

The update improves the experience and saves back office employees some grunt work. The bank estimates that an employee would spend 10 minutes to set up each customer on online banking, a procedure that adds up. Since the new app was implemented, the bank has signed up 800 customers, which is an increase from months past. The bank attributes the uptick in enrollments to ease of use. The bank's online banking users have grown by 5% each month, up from 3% pre-DNAapp.

The bank, which has turned on 16 apps, still requires users to sign up for online banking before they can become mobile banking customers. Hampden Bank recently added mobile remote deposit capture and is readying a tablet app, among other digital efforts.