CXFS 2021


Here's How Bangor Savings Bank is Fostering a Sense of Community with Its New Rewards Program

brought to you by WBR Insights

Rewards schemes are nothing new. However, Bangor Savings Bank is using its rewards program to benefit its customers and their communities.

Bangor Savings Bank was founded in 1852 in the town of Bangor, Maine, and by 2015 had 54 branches in the state. The company has always had a reputation for looking after its staff, including going so far as to relocate them to nearby branches when it was forced to close four locations in 2016, and, in that same year, setting a minimum wage of $13 per hour - an act which raised the base wage for about a third of its employees. Later that year, the minimum wage was further raised to $14 per hour. The Bangor Savings Bank Foundation was created in 1997, which invests over $1 million into communities in the form of non-profit sponsorships, grants and partnership initiatives.

Today, Bangor Savings Bank has recently acquired New Hampshire's Granite Bank. This event marks Bangor Savings Bank's first move outside of Maine and will raise the total assets of the company to $4 billion and add a further five branches to its portfolio.

PayWith and the Buoy Local Community Program

PayWith is a company which works with businesses to improve their reward programs. They have a strong focus on mobile technology, and use it to reconnect consumers with brick-and-mortar businesses, which they may have forgotten in the digital-centric world in which we live. Dubbed 'The Black Box', the PayWith solution is designed to be plugged into any existing card rewards program to instantly upgrade it with advance mobile features and benefits.

Bangor Savings Bank has recently announced a partnership with PayWith to create a new kind of rewards program - Buoy Local.

Buoy Local is a community-focused program which helps local and independently owned businesses drive sales by empowering them with modern mobile engagement and loyalty strategies. Encouraging people to get off Amazon or Walmart and use the small businesses around them is no mean feat when you consider the resources these giants have behind them - so anything which can help make them competitive is to be welcomed.

Customers link their Buoy Local card with a Bangor Savings Bank Debit card in the scheme's proprietary mobile app. Once connected, the customer begins accruing points by shopping or dining at participating businesses - all of which are located within Maine. The points can then be redeemed at any of those same participating locations. So far, businesses in Bangor, Portland, and Belfast have joined the Buoy Local coalition, with plans to spread further throughout the state in the months to follow.

Eric Mettemeyer, CEO of EML Payments North America - providers of the card processing technology being used in the scheme - said: "We are thrilled to launch this exciting 'shop local' program with Bangor Savings Bank and PayWith. The program is a perfect example of how EML is innovating payment technology across North America, Europe and Australia. This solution is not just for community banks and credit unions. It can be implemented quickly for a wide array of highly competitive industries such as retail, hospitality, travel and entertainment."

Sometimes people just need a gentle reminder that there are loads of great businesses right on their doorstep, and an incentive to shop local may be just the thing to get consumers exploring their local areas again.

Final Thoughts

Bangor Savings Bank is not the biggest bank in the world - not by a long shot. However, by retaining its small business mentality, the company has a well-earned reputation for looking after its people and the community around it. From minimum wages above the national average to community grants and funding, and now with the Buoy Local program, Bangor Savings Bank is looking to continue the tradition of carrying out its business in a way which benefits not only its own bottom line, but also the hard-working citizens who support it.

The final word goes to Bangor Savings Bank CEO, Bob Montgomery-Rice.

"The new Buoy Local Community Program exemplifies the bank's commitment to support our local communities and businesses. By leveraging the innovative PayWith mobile rewards platform, we are able to reward consumers for buying local and keeping their dollars close to home at participating local businesses."

You can hear Bangor Savings Bank's Chief Customer Officer, Joyce Clark Sarnacki, speak at CXFS 2018 this July at the Westin Copley Place, Boston, MA.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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