PeoplesBank Fosters a Frictionless Customer Experience

Established in 1885, PeoplesBank is a leader in innovation, corporate responsibility, environmental sustainability, and employee engagement. Based in Holyoke, Massachusetts, PeoplesBank operates 19 offices throughout the region, including three LEED® certified offices that are environmentally friendly. PeoplesBank has financed more than $96 million in wind, hydroelectric, and solar energy projects.

Its attention to innovation and customer experience has brought PeoplesBank countless accolades, including being recognized as a “Top Place To Work” by The Boston Globe and a “Best Place to Work” by the Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and the Springfield Republican.

As the largest community bank in the market, PeoplesBank has a unique ability to help the communities it serves through volunteer efforts and millions of dollars in donations to charitable and civic causes. Its associates devote an average of 6,000 hours to volunteer work each year, and 48 of the bank’s officers serve on the boards of directors and committees of 115 nonprofit organizations in the area.

PeoplesBank’s tagline is “a passion for what is possible.”

“As a mutual bank that has been headquartered in Western Massachusetts for over 130 years, we have a strong track record of stability,” Sheila King Goodwin, Senior Vice President ─ Retail, PeoplesBank, explained to Loyalty360. “Our customers know us; they have personal relationships with the branch managers, front-line tellers, mortgage loan officers, etc. Loyalty comes from familiarity, strong relationships, giving back to the community and having your expectations met or exceeded. We believe our stability allows for that.”

Innovation led PeoplesBank to create a Customer Innovation Lab and hire a data scientist.

“Innovation has always been a strong organizational value for PeoplesBank,” King Goodwin said. “We were one of the first community banks in the country to launch mobile banking and Apple Pay. Our mutual charter allows us to invest in technology and innovation, rather than divert earnings as stockholder dividends. The Customer Innovation Lab is one of those long-term investments that, along with our new Business Intelligence platform, will allow us to quickly bring to market products and services that foster a frictionless customer experience.”

Customers’ needs are changing because their lifestyles are changing, King Goodwin noted.

“Banking customers are not the only ones whose needs and lifestyles are changing rapidly,” she said. “These trends are impacting virtually every industry. Our responses to those changes have been proactive. Our newest office is a LEED® certified gold building that looks more like an Apple Store than a traditional bank. It reflects the strong environmental values of the community that it serves, and it is infused with technologies that allow those customers to bank in a way that meets their lifestyle needs.”

What’s more, PeoplesBank has moved rapidly into online, mobile-friendly banking platforms to allow its customers to bank as well as apply for loans from their smartphones.

“We expect needs and technology to change even more rapidly, and our Customer Innovation Lab was created so that we could anticipate those needs and roll out new products and services quickly,” King Goodwin said.
And nothing is accomplished without strong employee engagement.

“Our ‘High Performance Culture’ is a national model, and our Chief Human Resources Officer is called on several times a year to present it at conferences,” King Goodwin explained. “The foundation of that model is that our associates are largely the reason for our success. Therefore, our employee engagement programs, career development, and even work-life balance efforts must be focused on their needs so they can, in turn, help us succeed as an organization. Certainly, engaged associates are better able to serve customer needs and therefore ensure a measure of customer loyalty. But we strive to go way beyond that by supporting engaged and innovative associates that cannot only serve customer needs, but also anticipate needs and help improve our organization to meet them.”

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