Supporting the growth of a community bank
OceanFirst Bank was first created in 1902 to help members of their Ocean County, New Jersey community fulfill their dreams of home ownership. Over 100 years later, OceanFirst is still a pillar of community support in 79 branches across New Jersey, Philadelphia, and New York City and offers full-service financial capabilities, from helping build new businesses to financing higher education.
OceanFirst was executing self-service coin counting operations for customers with owned machines, which their teams were responsible for tending to throughout the day. With heavy coin volume in numerous branches, OceanFirst team members were spending a considerable amount of time managing the machines.
“It was time consuming for us and required a lot of maintenance,” recalled Brielle Morrow, Branch Manager at OceanFirst. “The bags needed to be changed two or three times per day at least.”
“At one particularly heavy volume branch, we even had to have a team member stand next to the machine to fix jams when larger customers did their coin pours,” said Cara Larned, Director of Operations. “It wasn’t uncommon to see transactions that totaled in the thousands of dollars.”
The time team members spent at the machines was coupled with having to haul coin bags back and forth from the vault and prepare them for shipment.
OceanFirst was also seeing a considerable amount of variances in their owned machines. While the variance didn’t impact the customer experience, it caused problems for the branch team members and the back office.
“Our old machines didn’t do a good job of detecting the type of coin coming in,” said Morrow. “Quarters would flood into the penny bags, and we would have to empty the bags and re-run the coin through the machine. Reconciling the machines took at least an extra 15 minutes at the end of every night.”
The heavy volume and variances also led to machine downtime across the OceanFirst network. If a machine wasn’t processing coins correctly, it would have to be turned off until a technician could come to the branch to perform repairs. This often took a few business days, taking the machines out of service for OceanFirst customers.
As OceanFirst grew, they had to manage multiple coin machines from different brands and vendors, which required different management methods and lines of communication. OceanFirst recognized the need to streamline and simplify their self-service coin counting offering to make it sustainable and scalable.
Coinstar for Financial reached out to OceanFirst and offered an alternative to their owned solution: a fully managed coin program. Coinstar for Financial worked with leadership at OceanFirst to build the business case for the transition
Implementing the Coinstar solution would mean transitioning the program’s expenses from a capital expense (owned machines) to an operating expense. Coinstar for Financial worked through a cost comparison with OceanFirst to outline how Coinstar’s program stacked up to the owned machines and determine how many kiosks would be needed to provide service to customers. OceanFirst evaluated the Coinstar program with a 90-day pilot program in three heavy volume branches.
After a successful pilot, OceanFirst replaced their existing machines with Coinstar kiosks and extended the program to their entire branch network. The transformation of the program for team members and customers was nearly instantaneous.
“It was a great implementation process,” said Dawn Brotten, branch manager. “Our Coinstar tech trained our team members how to use the kiosk up front and our accounting department went through their own trainings, too. We took pictures of what our tech showed us and we use them as a reference for new team members.”
Branch employees experienced immediate relief since they no longer had to empty coin bags or deal with shipping the coin. The closing process was much simpler than the old machines—before, if a customer came to convert their coin at the end of the day, it would mean the staff would have to stay late. With Coinstar, this is no longer a concern.
The time savings and reduced workload produced marked improvement on employee morale. In addition, when branches began to reopen in the wake of the 2020 pandemic, branch team members can focus more on taking the extra steps needed to ensure people remain safe. For example, more team members are able to staff the drive through without having to step away to service the coin machines. Team members are also responsible for carrying out extra cleaning procedures and making sure that no more than a certain number of people are in the branch at once. The Coinstar fully managed program makes these additional protocols easier for employees to carry out.
Customers have also noticed that the coin counting experience has improved. “We recently had a customer come in who owns a car wash,” said Brotten. “They get lots of tips in quarters and usually have a significant amount of coins. We were talking about the new coin machines and he remarked how great it is that the team members don’t have to change the bags anymore. Customers were noticing that, so this is a great improvement.”
Since the program’s implementation, the Coinstar kiosks that replaced OceanFirst’s previous machines have shown a 4% increase in volume over a 6-month period. The Coinstar solution also simplified the coin counting offering for the entire OceanFirst network, bringing uniformity to the customer experience in every branch and giving the organization only one partner to manage.
With the help of Coinstar for Financial, OceanFirst was able to successfully streamline its coin counting operations while also improving working conditions for its team members. As a fast-growing institution, the Coinstar team is optimistic about the future of OceanFirst and we look forward to continuing to support them as they expand their footprint in the Northeast United States.
OFB worked with Coinstar for Financial to not only replace their existing machine network but to expand service to all branches. Coinstar for Financial was also able to remove the confusion caused by having coin machines by multiple different brands across OFB’s many branches, ensuring one simple and streamlined process for maintenance and logistics company-wide.