The business of regional banking has changed radically over the past decade. Market forces such as consolidation, regulation, varying workforce needs, new technologies, and increasingly demanding customers, have put pressure on banks to differentiate and create more compelling value. For 1st Security Bank of Washington, this means achieving the optimum information technology infrastructure required to deliver excellent customer service; offer competitive products and services, and provide superior financial support to its customers in the Pacific Northwest.

Headquartered in Mountlake Terrace, WA, 1st Security Bank has been serving individuals and businesses since 1936. Originally a credit union, 1st Security has more recently served as a mutual savings bank with 13 branch locations. Market forces such as consolidation, regulation, and increasingly demanding customers have created pressure for banks to differentiate and create more compelling value. For 1st Security, this means offering competitive products and services and providing superior financial support to customers. Achieving this requires an optimized information technology infrastructure for delivering customer service.

“We were growing rapidly as a credit union, but regulations meant that we couldn’t offer the range of products and services that many of our members were demanding.”
– Tony Brooks, IT Systems Manager, 1st Security Bank.

The Challenge

With the conversion from credit union to bank came an additional challenge: updating the aging hodgepodge of phone systems throughout the 13 bank locations. The system was unwieldy for end-users and IT staff alike; employees often had to look up the number and extension of an employee at another branch and then call outside to reach them. If the print directory had not been updated recently, or a page was missing, this turned into an exercise in frustration. For the tech team, simple moves, adds, and changes were labor-intensive and time-consuming.

The Solution

After extensive research, a site visit to a ShoreTel customer in Seattle convinced 1st Security’s team to go with ShoreTel. Based on a network assessment by local integration partner TRITEC Communications, a T1 line was implemented, along with ShoreTel 120 Voice Switches and one ShoreTel 40 Voice Switch in the main office. Each of the 12 additional branches received a ShoreTel 40 Voice Switch, and more than 160 ShoreTel 230 IP Phones were installed across all offices. Following a three-week transition period, the move to the ShoreTel platform was made in one day. Other benefits include:

  • Incoming calls that were once handled by a staff of 15 can now be managed by just four, for a 60 percent cost reduction.
  • To accommodate Spanish-speaking customers, the bank has set up a separate workgroup that callers can access through the auto-attendant, enabling the bank to attract and service a new customer base.
  • Moves, adds, and changes that once took at least one hour per user to complete can now be managed remotely in minutes through ShoreTel Director’s browser-based interface.
  • ShoreTel Contact Center reports provide valuable planning tools for optimizing available resources, along with the ability to manage call-routing and automated call distribution (ACD) on the fly in response to events and promotions

“ShoreTel has given us a solid foundation to increase efficiency and further enhance customer service. That’s an investment that will keep us laughing all the way to the bank.”
– Tony Brooks, IT Systems Manager, 1st Security Bank.
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