Based in Spencer, Iowa, Northwest Bank has 18 locations and two drive-throughs throughout Iowa and Nebraska. As a family-owned community bank, Northwest is committed to the communities it serves. It offers a full line of business, agricultural, mortgage, consumer deposit and lending services as well as wealth management services.
Northwest Bank focuses on providing exceptional products and services and expects the same of its vendors. Currently, Rochester Armored Car services 12 ATMs and 18 branches out of its Des Moines, Iowa office. But this wasn’t always the case.
In 2012, after two years of working with Rochester, Northwest Bank parted ways due to a better bid from another armored car company. After just a year with the other carrier, the bank decided that it wanted the professional and extraordinary service that Rochester is committed to providing its customers and returned its business to Rochester.
The decision to return
According to Lynn Lundt, vice president of client services, Northwest Bank didn’t realize how switching armored car companies would impact the level of service it received and its own operations. Throughout 2012 Northwest Bank dealt with issues that it simply hadn’t anticipated, explained Lundt. “There were a lot of branch complaints,” she said.
It didn’t take long for the bank to decide that it wanted to return its business to Rochester. Lundt explained that the bank didn’t even consider accepting bids from other armored car companies. However, still under contract with the other vendor, it took Northwest Bank some time to successfully end its existing contract.
Together Rochester and Northwest Bank worked together to create a service agreement that met the bank’s needs and budget. The agreement addressed the bank’s areas of concern that it had been facing the last year – customer service and support.
A higher level of customer service
One of the benefits of working with Rochester is the quick response we get, Lundt said. She explained that recently one of the branches needed emergency cash in a short period of time so she reached out to Rochester. “Rochester rearranged its schedule to ensure that the emergency cash we requested was at the branch before banking hours the very next day,” she said. “Rochester is there and ready to respond to any of our requests and make sure we are serviced as quickly as possible.”
Lundt said that sometimes the bank takes for granted the consistency of Rochester’s customer service. Coming off of a year where there were numerous complaints and concerns from the branches, she said it’s easy to forget how much time and energy was spent handling those complaints and issues. Rochester has undoubtedly saved us time and energy and allowed us to better serve our customers, she said.
She explained that the few issues that the bank has had with Rochester have been resolved with integrity. The few instances we’ve had where things don’t go as planned, Rochester is quick to apologize and offer a solution, she said. “It’s nice to know if there is ever a problem, Rochester is going to take action and handle it properly,” Lundt said.
Lundt said that the bank also quickly noticed that Rochester was diligently serving them in other areas, like actively monitoring the currency the bank held in the Rochester Des Moines vault. “We’ve occasionally received calls from Rochester about excess cash in the vault and whether or not we want to ship that to the Federal Reserve,” she said. “We appreciate Rochester monitoring the currency in the vault because it is key to helping us manage ATM flow and branch needs and really lets us make decisions that fit our bank’s needs.”
Having a strong training program and process in place is essential to Lundt and she said with Rochester that was already in place. “For a bank like ours with several branches, it’s important to have good training,” Lundt said. “If the training systems aren’t easy that means we have to invest more time and energy into it, but with Rochester there was someone there to help with the branch training, explain the
spreadsheets and reports, and walk the branches through what they need to do.Rochester’s Secure Cash Vault Services Web Application not only offers another form of support, but also simplifies training employees and managing operations. Lundt explained that it is an easy and dependable way for Northwest Bank able to better control its balancing, reporting, and ordering.
The right choice for Northwest Bank
Nicole Joynt, a banking specialist for Northwest Bank, is especially happy with the open communication the bank has with Rochester. She recalled that when the bank first began working with Rochester again, the company provided them with an opportunity to sit down and talk about some of the issues the bank had been facing. “To me, that was a step in right direction because some of my biggest concerns with the previous vendor had been a lack of communication,” she said.
“Our vendors reflect us,” Lundt said. She believes the vendors that the bank chooses to have relationships with ultimately reflect the bank and its services. “Rochester is very professional in the delivery of its services,” she said.
She said this extends from the day-to-day interactions that Rochester employees have with the branches to the service and support the bank receives from the Des Moines branch and corporate headquarters.