By Millicent Martin Emery
Eighty percent of businesses fail within the first 15 years, and only two percent of third-generation businesses survive.
However, Wayne Bank President/CEO Mark Soukup says the future is bright for Wayne Bank with its remarkable sixth generation of family leadership.
The Cambridge-City-based bank recently made a major renovation and technology investment. Staff, board members and the community recently celebrated the end of remodeling with a grand re-opening and 135th anniversary celebration that included a ribbon-cutting, giveaways and a tent featuring food from Willie & Red’s.
Mike Gaddis, chief operating officer, said the bank’s transformation in less than a year has been spectacular.
“The results are beyond what we could have expected,” Gaddis said.
Wayne Bank has reinvented its logo as well as the interior and exterior look of the Cambridge City branch at 145 W. Main St.
“We wanted a building that would complement downtown, but at the same time, we wanted to showcase our technology and the changing banking industry,” Gaddis said. “We feel we’ve done that.”
Richmond-based Whitewater Construction and local subcontractors were hired to do 95 percent of the work, Gaddis said. The architecture firm K4 of Cincinnati was chosen because it specializes in buildings for the financial industry.
Although there were surprises along the way, Gaddis said the process went smoothly and everyone worked together to meet the bank’s deadline.
Customers will notice a few changes that are designed to improve their experience.
The bank has done away with a traditional teller line, instead installing pods for tellers. The open concept is intended to help tellers focus on relationship building with customers.
The new Cash Recycler machine frees employees to work with customers on tasks such as helping them open accounts.
Soukup said the Cash Recycler is an automated cash handler that can quickly count a mixed pile of bills and gives the teller a total.
He said counting cash is the most time-consuming part of tellers’ jobs and it is the most prone to mistakes, so the machine can help provide better quality customer service.
The Cash Recycler allows tellers to spend more time chatting with customers, Soukup said, and follow up with questions about their banking needs, such as car loans or transferring a mortgage to get a better interest rate.
“It’s just amazing technology,” Soukup said.
Wayne Bank also has installed an ATM as part of its drive-up service area for 24-hour access.
However, customers don’t even have to come to the bank to take advantage of its upgrades.
Soukup said Wayne Bank has invested heavily in mobile technology so customers can do almost any bank transaction from their phones or computers, including transferring money, applying for mortgages or opening new checking accounts online.
Soukup called the bank’s online presence its fourth branch, noting the bank’s two other locations in Richmond.
“It’s that functional,” he said.
Board member Bonnie Boyd Kruckenberg said the utilization of new technology is a positive step for the bank’s future.
“People don’t realize that although we’re a community bank, we offer the same things as large banks,” Kruckenberg said.
She is the youngest daughter of the late Alonzo H. Boyd, who served as the bank’s previous president.
Kruckenberg and her sisters, Kris Scrougham and Wendy Boyd, each have two sons, and Kruckenberg said Alonzo Boyd’s six grandsons are “being steeped in banking and planning to continue this on for generations to come.”
She said Wayne Bank is proud to be part of the fabric of the community.
“It’s really about our customers continuing to trust us and allowing us to serve their banking needs,” Kruckenberg said. “The renewal and remodel are showing our commitment to the community.”
Kris Scrougham’s husband, Leo Scrougham, said he is totally amazed by the transformation.
“It’s going to be great for the community,” Leo said. “For an established business that has been around this long, to move into the future with a building like this, it’s really nice.”
“I think the glass opens it up to make it more welcoming,” Kris said.
Thanks given to community partners
During the Oct. 16 celebration, bank staff thanked community partners who have helped during the renovation, including RMD/Patti, which let Wayne Bank staff work out of its Cambridge City office.
Bank staff also saluted volunteers at Cambridge City’s library’s History Room, who compiled information and photos for a display along the bank’s west wall featuring important people and topics in the town’s history, including famous horse Single G, the Overbeck Sisters artists, Virginia Claypool Meredith and William Creitz.
The bank presented a $500 check to surprised library volunteers as well as a collection of local historical photos collected by the Boyd family.
“It’s probably a treasure trove of photos we’ll dearly cherish,” said Susie Gabbard, saying her group will be as happy as clams to go through the collection. “They’ll be kept safe in the history room.”
Gabbard and four other volunteers meet from 2-4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the library and offer their assistance to the public.