Archive for the ‘First Federal’ Category

BarCampBankCharleston: Recap

March 1, 2010 1 comment

Well, we finally pulled BarCampBankCharleston off.  Although there were only six of us in attendance, I believe everyone felt that the event was very rewarding.

Jared Smith (@jaredwsmith) from ReadWriteWeb kicked off the first session with a talk about social media.  Because it was mostly First Federal employees at the event, he geared his talk towards how we used social media.

Since we already have a Facebook page and twitter account (@firstfederal), he gave us some ideas about how we could use these sites for lead generation.  One example was using geo-targeting in advanced search on Twitter to target prospective customers.  Another was using Collecta for real-time search about any posts about our bank.

He seemed impressed with what we’re currently doing.  One thing he mentioned was not sending private information through social media.  He said that personally, he would feel very uncomfortable contacting his bank with confidential information through such a channel.

Next, Adrienne Cobbs, from First Federal, gave a presentation on business continuity plans.  Some things she talked about were recovery and resumption tasks for critical business processes, alternative facilities and establishing reliable communications with employees and customers.

She mentioned that continually testing your plan was critical.  A disaster is a poor time to find out that your offsite changed the tape backups and yours’ are no longer compatible or the phone system only has one working line.

Using social media was also brought up as a way to keep employees and customers informed.  For instance, if our website was down, we could post information on our Facebook page and use Yammer to get information to employees.  Keeping the media informed was also a key point.

Finally, Quintin Sykes (@bank_daddy) from Cornerstone Advisors spoke about trends in the banking industry.  One thing that stood out to me was the payments space.  Phone manufacturers seem to be holding off on NFC until the merchants have their systems in place.  But the merchants are waiting until customers have devices that can use NFC.  Classic chicken and egg scenario.  Also, there are many vendors but universal standards haven’t been set yet.

Another thing was the jury is still out on the benefits of PFM.  Although I’ve heard that it helps drive up retention rates, hard numbers haven’t been issued.  So if banks can’t quantify a ROI, they will be reluctant to jump into offering the product.  I plan to discuss my thoughts about this in a later post.

Overall, I think BarCampBank was a success and I look forward to helping organize another one next year.  We’ll really have to get the word out and let people know that collaboration is a good thing.  Just knowing about new tools and what the future for the industry holds is valuable stuff that we can all use.  I’d also like to thank our sponsors: ECPI College of Technology, ClairMail and Cornerstone Advisors. See you next year.

Mobile Banking To The Rescue

October 29, 2009 Leave a comment


So, I was headed home from work this evening and decided to stop at a local restaurant for some takeout.  After placing my order, I then paid with my handy-dandy First Federal debit card.  After receiving my food, I headed on home to enjoy my meal.

When I settled in to eat my dinner, I checked my phone to see what alerts came in from mobile banking.  I saw two debit alerts, one that matched a purchase I made earlier, and one that didn’t look familiar.  It seems that what I thought I paid for my meal was not matching the alert I received.

I then logged onto online banking and saw the debit description for the restaurant.  It seems that the cashier added a dollar tip that I didn’t remember giving.

I guess he didn’t know that: #1 I get SMS alerts on my debit card and #2 I work for the bank.  Tomorrow morning, they will most likely lose out on the transaction altogether.

So what have we learned?  SMS alerts can help protect you against fraudulent charges; and small business owners may want to be a little more honest with all this technology in consumers’ hands.


The restaurant adjusted their credit charges at the end of night.  So I ended up being charged the correct amount.

Photo by Skokie

First Federal Launches Mobile Banking

October 16, 2009 6 comments

First Federal Mobile Banking

First Federal has now launched Mobile Banking for its customers.  I have to say, I am really excited about this new service.  While I was skeptical about the benefits of the service a couple of years ago, I have to admit that having my bank in my pocket is great.

Being a lead on the project was a lot of fun.  After looking at most of the vendors in the market, we finally decided on ClairMail.  We felt that text alerts was a very crucial piece to mobile banking and ClairMail fit our needs nicely.  One added bonus is that we are the first bank/credit union to offer mobile banking without requiring the customer to be an online banking user.

I believe this will allow the bank to tap even more potential users that may not necessarily want to use online banking.  Customers can use text messaging and/or mobile web for mobile banking.  Some of the features that are currently available are daily balance alerts, deposit/withdrawal alerts and transfers.  There is also a stylized iPhone version.  If you are a First Federal customer, you can register for mobile banking here.  Some screen shots are listed below.

SMS Example

Mobile Web Ex1

Mobile Web Ex2

Number 22


As you all know, Friday has become known as Bank Failure Friday.  While I was getting ready to leave for the weekend, I got the news that my employer, First Federal, had acquired Cape Fear Bank of Wilmington, NC.

Over the coming weeks, I’m sure that we will be in a controlled state of chaos, putting these two bank systems together.  While I am sad that circumstances forced the closure of Cape Fear Bank, I am excited to be working with a new group of coworkers.

Hopefully this transition will go smoothly and we can grow and become an even better bank.  So, to the Cape Fear Bank family, I say, “Welcome to First Federal”.

First Federal on Social Media, Part Deux

March 27, 2009 2 comments

First Federal has now added their social media links to their Contact Us Page.  So far, the Twitter account has mostly been used to announce workshops that the bank has sponsored.

First Federal Contact Us

First Federal Contact Us

Here are the links to their sites:

Twitter: @firstfederal

Facebook: First Federal FB

YouTube: First Federal Online