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Community Spirit Bank Case Study: Doing More with Less

Based on a conversation with Emily Mays, Community Spirit Bank in Red Bay, AL

“We could not have been more pleased with the operational efficiencies created by the changes we implemented with STS. Everything runs so smoothly, and we wish we had taken advantage of this opportunity sooner!” – Emily Mays, Community Spirit Bank

STS Group has had a long-standing relationship with Community Spirit Bank in Red Bay, Alabama. At the end of 2019 they began working strategically with them on some operational pain points. No one could have foreseen what the next few years would look like, but it turned out to be perfect timing. The solutions provided by STS Group helped Community Spirit Bank thrive at a time when many other financial institutions struggled.

Community Spirit Bank initially engaged STS Group because they wanted to offer their customers a next-level experience and gain an edge over their competitors. They also wanted to make their teller department operate more efficiently. At the time, The building’s layout separated the drive-thru tellers from the rest of the deposit department, and they were not able to serve people in the lobby when the drive-through wasn’t busy. Thus, creating inefficiencies in customer service and cross-training. During peak times, this staff sometimes struggled to keep up with drive-thru demand, and the distance from the lobby was so far, it was difficult for a lobby teller to travel back and forth to help. The bank wanted to find a solution that didn’t involve hiring more staff and allowed the existing staff to cross-train in multiple capacities.

After assessing Community Spirit Bank’s current situation and challenges, STS Group recommended that they make three changes.

1. We suggested that they relocate the drive-through. This would allow the tellers that were serving drive-through customers to work in the lobby. This change alone made their teller operations much more streamlined. The tellers could serve customers in the lobby when the drive-through was quiet, and vice versa.

2. We advised Community Spirit Bank to begin using TCRs to help their tellers work more quickly. TCRs were a time-saving tool that enabled the tellers to handle cash more efficiently. In fact, they could work close to twice as fast using the TCRs as they did without them.

3. The third strategy STS Group suggested was to begin using deposit-taking ATMs. These would allow customers to make deposits outside of business hours, taking pressure off the tellers, since customers could use a self-service machine anytime. This was a fantastic way for CSB to set themselves apart from their competitors because customers could make deposits and access their cash any time of day.

It turns out that, despite the pandemic and the Great Resignation, STS Group’s solutions for CSB couldn’t have come at a better time. Like many other banks, they’ve been short-staffed over the last few years. Moving the drive-through and using TCRs and deposit-taking ATMs allows the staff to serve more customers without additional tellers. Their deposit operations run more smoothly, which gives staff time to cross-train employees on other duties. Even in peak times, tellers are able to serve their customers without long wait times.

Over the last few years, many banks have reduced their operating hours or have gone out of business because of staff shortages. Working with STS Group has allowed CSB to serve their customers without dropping their standards or operating hours. In fact, according to Emily Mays at Community Spirit Bank, making these changes has helped them better position their deposit operations strategically for the future.