A Northwest Bank Case Study

Northwest Bank is a subsidiary of Northwest Bancshares, Inc. that was founded in 1896.  Northwest is a full-service financial institution offering a complete line of personal and business banking products operating community banking locations in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and Indiana.

This case study will tell the story of how Coinstar for Financial helped Northwest Bank eliminate their antiquated, cumbersome, and manual process of coin handling for both consumer and small business customers. 

The Challenge

Large coin volume and failing machines were significantly impacting customer service and causing rising repair costs for Northwest Bank. Branch team members were spending a lot of time and effort handling bags, which was hindering their ability to effectively serve customers. If the coin machines became full, a team member would have to close their teller window and step away from the counter, despite a line of customers waiting. 

Handling the bags proved a challenge as well. Coin bags are heavy, and depending on the configuration of the branch, team members would sometimes have to haul them across the lobby. After trying some different cart solutions to ease the handling process without success, team members would pile the bags on rolling office chairs to make the job easier. 

“This was not the image we wanted to present to our customers,” said Rani Poague, Assistant Vice President at Northwest Bank. “We knew something had to change. It was either find another solution, or get rid of self-service coin counting altogether…and we knew our customers would not be happy if we did that. They love the convenience of being able to cash in their coin right in the branch.”

In addition to personal banking customers, businesses and even local municipalities were depending on Northwest Bank’s self-service coin machines. In fact, at one branch in Northwest’s network, one municipality regularly brought in its parking meter coin in five-gallon buckets! These transactions often totaled in the thousands of dollars. 

When these transactions occurred, a team member would have to stop helping customers in the teller line to help process the coin. The machines owned by Northwest Bank did not have enough capacity to handle the large transactions from start to finish, meaning a branch team member would need to empty the bags at least once before the customer could continue pouring coin.

The Solution

Coinstar for Financial shared an alternative solution to Northwest Bank’s owned machines—a fully managed coin program with the Anthony kiosk. The fully managed program included the kiosk, setup and training for Northwest Bank’s team members, coin pickup and processing, routine maintenance, reporting, service, and support. 

Northwest Bank’s leadership team recognized the need to reduce the amount of time team members were spending on coin. With Coinstar’s recommended program, team members at Northwest Bank would no longer have to empty the coin machine, prepare coin for pickup, audit the machines, or perform maintenance. With these tasks no longer necessary, branch team members would be free to spend more of their time focusing on serving customers and building relationships. 

To ensure the program would satisfy Northwest Bank’s needs, Coinstar for Financial provided a 90-day pilot program in two heavy-volume branches. The old coin machines were replaced with Anthony kiosks, and Coinstar for Financial provided training for team members on how to assist customers with any questions.

The pilot program was successful, and Northwest Bank worked with Coinstar for Financial to consolidate their machine network. Northwest Bank replaced their owned machines across the entire branch network with Anthony kiosks. 

The Results

According to Rani Poague, the biggest impact that the Coinstar for Financial program has had on the organization is the marked rise in morale among its team members. 

“They were thrilled,” Poague said. “In the past, having to ask a customer to wait so they could change bags didn’t make anyone feel good. Now, I see more smiles when our team is interacting with customers—it’s a friendlier atmosphere.”

No longer having to pull heavy coin bags has eliminated another worry on bank leadership’s mind: the risk of workplace injury. The Coinstar for Financial program has made Northwest Bank not only a happier place to work, but a safer one.

Remember the five-gallon buckets of coin? They are no longer causing disruption to Northwest Bank’s operation. The larger capacity of the bins on the Anthony kiosk allow the municipal employees to do their coin pours from start to finish for a seamless transaction, leaving enough space to continue accepting coin until the next Coinstar pickup. “The bigger bins allow the coin kiosk and our teams to keep working,” Poague said.

Finally, the team at Northwest Bank is now free to focus on what is most important—its customers. They are able to keep the teller line moving while still providing the self-service coin counting that their customers want.

“As an organization, we are focusing on improving valuable conversations with our customers. Our staff from the teller line to district managers are going through financial wellness trainings,” Poague said. “Having the Coinstar kiosk helps our team members stay focused on improving.”

Conclusion

Northwest Bank now has Coinstar for Financial programs running in 32 branches, processing +$6M in coin annually for its customers. The organization is furthering its partnership with Coinstar for Financial as it plans to add Coin to Deposit functionality at its kiosks in the future. With Coin to Deposit, Northwest Bank will be able to facilitate the customers’ entire coin transaction at the kiosk using a Northwest Bank issued debit card to deposit coins directly into their account—reducing wait times in the teller line and continuing to improve the experience for customers.