uring its grand opening last week, Acacia bank turned its teller line into a bar in order to allow its customers to get a look at the little-used section of the bank. Getting a glass of wine from the teller line is probably as close to that department as most of Acacia’s customers will ever get to using it.
Acacia Federal Savings Bank, one of the Ameritas Acacia Cos., which is nearing the $1 billion in assets mark, has the distinction of doing the bulk of its business by phone and e-mail. Up until now it has had to, because there was no physical bank. “This is the first and only branch. This is our only office, period,” said Nancy Davis, senior vice president of retail banking services.
Acacia Federal Savings Banks was able to grow so successfully because its customers come through insurance agents all over the county who work with Acacia’s umbrella corporation, Ameritas.
“A lot of our success has to do with the insurance agent, that made them trust us,” said Davis.
Even though Acacia only has one physical bank, and a lonely teller, customers are still able to transact business with ease, said Davis. “We offer them convenience by phone, more than most banks do,” said Davis. For example, customers are given a PIN number, which allows them to transfer funds over the phone. Most banking facilities require faxed directions and a signature to transfer funds without the individual being present.
“They’re a hybrid between a big corporation and small-town service,” said Dawn Dicker with Acacia.
ACACIA HAS also recently signed up with the STAR ATM network to offer easy access to its customers’ accounts. “We don’t charge a fee for using the ATMs in that network, and if that bank charges a fee, we will refund up to $10 a month for each account,” said Davis. Customers can also make deposits at participating ATMs nationwide.
Being responsive to customers’ needs has helped grow the business, even without there being a physical presence. “I think the No. 1 reason would be our service. I know that sounds cliché, but at Acacia it really is different. In the retail side of the bank, you still get a real person on the other end of the line when you call in. On the commercial side, we just kind of hand-hold them over there,” said Davis.
“They really do baby them. Customers can go out to lunch with the president and talk to him directly. There’s more support than the typical bank,” said Dicker.