NewDominion's Block Brings Small Businesses into Mobile Fold

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  • We heard it again and again from Charaka Kithulegoda and other bankers honored in our Mobile Banker of the Year package this year: simplicity and ease of use are the keys to sound mobile banking app design.
    June 3

Community bank NewDominion was the first in the Charlotte market to have mobile deposit capture.

"The minute we made that available, customers started asking us if we could apply it to their commercial accounts," says Chris Block, senior vice president and treasury services sales manager at the $312 million-asset bank. "That led us to believe this is something we should offer our small business clients going forward, because of the popularity and reaction we got on the retail side." From there, NewDominion became one of the few banks to invest in its own app for small business clients, and a sophisticated one at that.

"We only have two branches," Block notes. "We have to make things easy for people."

Mobile check deposit has proven to be popular among a variety of business customers. "We have clients we've onboarded for standard merchant remote deposit capture with a scanner that are scanning 5-10 checks a month because that was their only option," Block says. "Once we made this available, we called these people who were doing lower volumes and established a waiting list of people who would prefer to migrate from standard desktop to mobile because of the check volume. Some clients deposit a decent volume of checks through merchant RDC, but also have satellite locations that receive few checks. In those cases, we're doing a hybrid setup where we're leaving the traditional desktop RDC setup in place and adding mobile seats."

One customer is a professional golf tour that might get 40 checks for players the first day of an event. "They're sitting there on a golf course, for them to lug a laptop and a check scanner and hope they can get a wifi connection is cumbersome. So we set them up with mobile and even though they have to take a photo of each check front and back and deposit one check at a time, they love it. In a setting where mobile deposit is truly necessary, there have been no complaints."

The bank has set an unwritten rule for where mobile deposit capture is appropriate: for depositing fewer than 60 checks a month, three checks a day. Exceptions are made, for instance, to accommodate the the golf tour company.

Currently, the bank's business banking app and mobile deposit app are not integrated. It's planning to upgrade its core system to enable mobile banking and deposit in one app, as well as other features.

"Some of our more sophisticated clients want to not only see transactions and balances online but also initiate wire transfers, initiate and approve ACH batch inputs, be able to make positive pay decisions via smart device. Those are all enhancements we're looking to bring on with a core upgrade that will take place in early 2014."

The mobile deposit app supports iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry. "The BlackBerry is the least popular, iPhone and iPad are the most popular," Block says. "Android devices are in between."

NewDominion is developing a new feature called MobileCheckTrack. This is a mobile version of a product that already exists for temporary storage of paper checks after they've been deposited through remote deposit capture. Customers can image and store their checks for the bank's 14-day retention period.

The bank also plans a mobile component to its remote cash capture service for retailers that accept a lot of cash. Users of this service scan and store the cash in a "smart safe" on their site, but the cash is credited to their account right away. The safe's contents are delivered to the bank once a week.

The new, mobile component is a dashboard reporting system that lets the controller or cash manager of a franchise see what each store is putting in its safe, who's making deposits.

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