15 Minutes With—Kaarin

Kaarin Long stops by a local manufacturer while getting to know customers as Investors Community Bank’s cash management relationship manager.  Photo by Mike Roemer

Kaarin Long stops by a local manufacturer while getting to know customers as Investors Community Bank’s cash management relationship manager.

Photo by Mike Roemer

Kaarin Long
Cash Management Relationship Manager
for the $745 Million-Asset
Investors Community Bank in Manitowoc, Wis.

IB: Where is Manitowoc?

Long: Manitowoc is conveniently located along the shores of Lake Michigan, and we’re centrally situated between Green Bay and Sheboygan. Milwaukee is about an hour away, so we have a nice pulse on our customers, which allows us to be in front of any new business as well as continue current customer relationships.

IB: What is Investors Community Bank like?

Long: One of the many reasons why I came to this bank and relocated my family here was how the bank was built by four bankers who understand the value of relationships. Investor Community Bank’s core belief is to walk in the shoes of our customer and really understand the business’s as well as the owner’s needs.

Banking changed in 2008. Before then, many bankers were just diagnosing and telling customers what they needed. Now relationships are as important to our customers as the interest rate of their loan. We want to understand our customers’ businesses and know their stories. We want to come to the table with new solutions and not just tell people things they’ve probably already been doing successfully without us. We want to be their partner, and to be their partner we have to be a good listener as well as advisor.

Our bank is recognized as a leader and one of the most successful bank startups in Wisconsin’s history, as we have grown our footprint into 62 of the state’s 72 counties. We are the largest Wisconsin-based agriculture lender statewide and a preferred Small Business Administration lender, with commercial bankers who understand all industries.

IB: Your position is new for Investors Community Bank.

Long: The job was created in spring of 2015. We want to grow our portfolio, but we want to do it in a sensible way. So the position was created to grow and diversify our community bank’s loan and deposit portfolio, particularly on the commercial side.

Cash management has diversified what a bank’s relationship is with a business. It gives us a forecast of a business’s cash flow. So it alleviates some of the surprises that may come along in lending. Cash management also gives us tremendous insights on how a business is growing, as well as any of its future needs.

My position is responsible for the acquisition, expansion and ongoing relationship of deposit/cash-management accounts and services for commercial and agricultural banking clients. I pride myself on being a product expert and champion and having the ability to analyze products to determine what the market is demanding and how to deliver those products to our customers.

My position also requires that I provide leadership, training and support to the other team members, as we want to be our customers’ advocates, not a product pusher. We want the solutions we bring to our proposals to make sense and be what the customers need to run their businesses, effectively and efficiently.

IB: What’s involved with your bank’s cash-management program?

Long: We have made our platform very user-friendly. We wanted it to be an assistant to the business in efficiently managing funds collection, distributions and maximize cash flow.

IB: What are the important functions and capabilities of your system?

Long: Our platform allows viewing rights of debits and credits as well as the creation of reports. In addition, it offers management of collecting and transferring funds utilizing the Automated Clearing House for payables, receivables to payroll and wires domestically and internationally, which not only saves time but also becomes more efficient in collecting the payments or holding onto funds longer for other uses.

Remote deposit capture allows our customers who are not logistically close to our office locations to deposit funds at their business locations by using a scanner to deposit checks. In 2016, we are introducing a mobile app for customers who are more on the go—to allow them to view and make transactions using their smartphones.

Lastly, we will be offering two fraud-protection modules: ACH blocks/filters and positive pay to assist our customers in reconciling their accounts as well as protect and reduce the risk of fraud.

IB: How many of your business customers are asking for cash management?

Long: Right now, I would say 70 percent of our customers are already utilizing cash management. When we meet with a potential new customer, it is important that both parties go through a discovery call to really dive into current needs, maybe addressing a pain point for the customers.

We find that the best way to start and maintain a relationship is through expectations and understanding the business’s needs versus turning on cash-management abilities that the customer won’t find beneficial or efficient to the business’s growth and understanding of cash flow. I find, sadly, a lot of times the customer isn’t using what it currently has for cash-management service.

As a cash-management relationship manager, I enjoy partnering with our business and agricultural banking team to provide exceptional customer service, simplicity, manageability, protection—as we walk with our customers in their shoes.