Tech­nol­ogy

Casey Craw­ford, CEO of Move­ment Mort­gage, bought First State Bank in Vir­ginia last year. He has since in­jected more cap­i­tal into the bank in an ef­fort to rein­vent it.

National Mortgage News - - Contents - By Hi­lary Burns

Mort­gage exec gives strug­gling bank a dig­i­tal makeover

Move­ment Bank in Danville, Va., fi­nally seems to be mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion.

Casey Craw­ford, CEO of Move­ment Mort­gage in In­dian Land, S.C., bought a ma­jor­ity stake in the for­mer First State Bank in June 2017. He also in­vested $10 mil­lion to re­cap­i­tal­ize the $ 44 mil­lion-as­set bank, help­ing res­cue what had pre­vi­ously been a mi­nor­ity-owned in­sti­tu­tion.

The nearly cen­tury-old bank was op­er­at­ing un­der a con­sent or­der. Its bal­ance sheet was ham­strung by prob­lem loans.

Craw­ford, a for­mer pro­fes­sional foot­ball player, hired a new CEO, head of risk and chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer to help turn the bank around. His new team has been work­ing qui­etly over the last 15 months to im­prove credit pro­cesses, im­ple­ment new tech­nol­ogy sys­tems and clean up the bal­ance sheet.

The bank now has up­dated tech­nol­ogy, which will al­low it to ex­pand be­yond its home­town.

It is fo­cus­ing on Char­lotte and Greens­boro in North Carolina, along with Vir­ginia Beach, as key growth mar­kets af­ter open­ing loan pro­duc­tion of­fices and hir­ing lenders in each city. Move­ment Bank also re­cruited a team of mort­gage orig­i­na­tors from Move­ment Mort­gage.

Craw­ford said he ex­pects the bank to reach $100 mil­lion in as­sets in the next year. In a re­cent in­ter­view, he also dis­cussed Move­ment Bank’s progress and plans to build a “largely dig­i­tal” bank.

Here is an edited tran­script of the in­ter­view.

What are your top pri­or­i­ties for the next 12 months?

CASEY CRAW­FORD: We are get­ting this great tech­nol­ogy launched. What we re­ally want to start do­ing is serve cus­tomers and tell sto­ries. Right now, we need to grow de­posits, so we’re go­ing to look for small busi­nesses and con­sumers we can serve in Char­lotte, Greens­boro, Danville and Vir­ginia Beach. Our com­mer­cial bankers are ac­tively work­ing on re­la­tion­ships right now. The gun just went off and the race is start­ing now that we have a tech­nol­ogy plat­form that is up and ready to serve all of these clients.

Do you plan to op­er­ate with­out many branches?

We don’t plan on be­ing in­fra­struc­ture heavy. We’re go­ing to be a largely dig­i­tal bank. We just com­pleted our on­line ac­count-open­ing plat­form so we can open ac­counts re­motely on­line. That just got im­ple­mented, so we’re go­ing to start adding ac­counts. We set up an ac­count- open­ing drive here in South Carolina in the spring and I think we opened 400 ac­counts in one month, which was more ac­counts than the bank had opened in the pre­vi­ous 10 years.

How did you get so many peo­ple to sign up so quickly?

I think it was a lot of en­thu­si­asm around a new op­tion for bank­ing. In Char­lotte, most of the lo­cal de­posits are held by Bank of Amer­ica and Wells Fargo. They are good, but not that good. Peo­ple look around and see the Move­ment Foun­da­tion and Move­ment Schools, and they know that Move­ment Bank is an in­sti­tu­tion that is deeply in­vested in the com­mu­nity where they live, so we have had a lot of busi­ness own­ers and peo­ple reach­ing out and say­ing, “Hey, how can I do busi­ness with this bank?” So up un­til this month we haven’t been able to take them on as clients if they couldn’t drive to Danville. Now we’re go­ing to be able to serve them with on­line ac­count open­ings.

How will you build aware­ness with­out branches?

A lot of peo­ple are fa­mil­iar with the Move­ment Mort­gage brand and we cer­tainly plan to lever­age that. What we have al­ways had a cul­ture of do­ing is serv­ing peo­ple re­ally well and then telling sto­ries us­ing so­cial me­dia. So­cial me­dia re­ally forces you to serve peo­ple well and then get them to rec­om­mend you to their friends and fam­ily. That’s a deep ex­per­tise that we have from Move­ment Mort­gage. We started as a four-per­son or­ga­ni­za­tion; we have 4,000 em­ploy­ees now. We are re­ally ex­cited to lever­age that same phi­los­o­phy. We don’t have a large paid-me­dia strat­egy. What we want to do is lead with thought­ful fi­nan­cial prod­ucts that im­pact peo­ple’s lives and then build en­thu­si­asm in the com­mu­nity for the bank and en­cour­age our cus­tomers and clients to retell that story via so­cial me­dia.

How do you com­ply with the Com­mu­nity Rein­vest­ment Act when you lack branches in these com­mu­ni­ties?

I can’t quote you the plan off the top of my head, but we are sub­ject to the same CRA re­quire­ments that ev­ery bank has and we are work­ing with reg­u­la­tors to make sure we fully com­ply. Our vi­sion is that we would serve the en­tire com­mu­nity and we think there’s a lot of op­por­tu­nity with the un­der­banked. A lot of that stems from a deep dis­trust in the larger bank­ing in­sti­tu­tions. We think there are some neat op­por­tu­ni­ties for us to reach into some pre­vi­ously un­der­banked com­mu­ni­ties and serve them in a new way be­cause we’re lo­cal and be­cause we’re a com­mu­nity bank. We are not a big na­tional brand, so we’re able to build some re­la­tion­ships, which I think is more dif­fi­cult for big na­tional banks to do in lo­cal mar­kets. I am en­thu­si­as­tic about some of the op­por­tu­ni­ties within that space.

Could you tell me more about the new tech­nol­ogy?

We landed on Q2 for our core bank­ing sys­tem. They were im­ple­ment­ing some re­ally thought­ful mo­bile- bank­ing tech­nol­ogy that we’re re­ally ex­cited about. The big op­por­tu­nity for commu- nity banks is to lever­age new tech­nol­ogy. There are tech­nol­ogy providers out there that re­ally give you the abil­ity to serve your con­sumers at least as well, if not in a su­pe­rior fash­ion, as the big­gest banks and you’re not sad­dled with all of the legacy in­fra­struc­ture.

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