Why Radius Bank was ranked the #1 online bank in the country by Bankrate.com

Feb 29, 2020
Narmi Staff Contributor

$1.4bn Radius Bank – a proud Narmi customer – was named as the best online bank in the country by Bankrate.com. This is a phenomenal achievement and testament to the hard work and vision of Radius Bank’s leadership and employees. Beating out industry titans like Ally Bank, HSBC and Discover is impressive on its own, but even more so when one considers the R&D budgets and scale of these financial institutions. 

As Radius Bank’s digital banking partner, the Narmi team has unique insight into how Radius achieved this accolade and what financial institutions can do to replicate its success. We’ve provided some perspective to these questions in this insight piece. 

In our eyes, there is no reason a regional or community financial institution cannot beat mega-banks or fintech companies. What is required is discipline, openness to real change, and a passion for doing the right thing for the end-user. 

Below are the top reasons why a $1.4bn bank, with no developers on staff and the budget of a community bank, was awarded Bankrate.com’s best online bank.

1. An Obsession with User Experience

Radius Bank’s COO and Head of Institutional Banking Phil Peters said it best, “It’s not so much about the functionality we offer, it’s about how we offer it.”

User experience is critical to driving success with any digital bank offering. Features and functionality in banking (and most industries) have, to a certain extent, become commodities. That makes them easily reproducible by competitors. What differentiates is ultimately the user experience a company can offer. By focusing on that, Radius differentiated itself. 

Here are three examples of the ways Radius delivers a superior user experience relative to other banking applications:

  1. It offers a centralized mobile banking feed. When a user logs into the Radius mobile banking application they are taken to Radius’ mobile banking feed which is an aggregation of all available banking functionality simply presented to the user. Users are not taken to a balances page where they must find functionality on their own. This has driven app ratings up, and service inquiries down.
  2. The Radius app displays limits and real-time availability for ACH transfers and remote check deposits. When users understand what their limits are and how much they have left, they have a better user experience. Users also don’t have to waste time on the phone calling Radius for information that’s easily accessible in the mobile app.
  3. Users can easily add external accounts for money transfers without having to go through the typical micro-deposit process (where two small deposits are made and the user then needs to wait 2-3 days to verify the sums). Instead, Radius Bank users can link accounts immediately through instant ACH authentication. 

2. A Willingness to Offer New Functionality

Users recognize award financial institutions who offer differentiation with higher app store ratings, more deposits and referrals. 

Below are three of the new features Radius offered its clients that helped it stand out.

  1. Radius offered Narmi’s proprietary FinTech integration suite to banking users, which includes:
  • Billshark – bill negotiation on everyday household bills
  • Lemonade – property insurance quotes in less than 60 seconds
  • Credible – student loan refinancing in minutes
  • Ladder Life – life insurance in minute
  1. Instant ACH Authentication:
  • Customers can link external accounts quickly by entering their online banking login credentials at another financial institution
  • As a fall back option, Radius also supports micro-deposits for those financial institutions not supported via instant ACH authentication
  1. Mobile-First Support Messaging:
  • Radius implemented text-like support messaging directly in its mobile applications
  • This encouraged customers to use the mobile application instead of calling the call center (which is far more cost effective)
  • Radius integrated this messaging with its Oracle CRM to achieve even more efficiencies in the back office

3. Using Banking APIs

There is a lot of talk around banking APIs these days, yet few financial institutions use them correctly or to their full potential. The key is to use banking APIs to actually solve business problems or improve business processes. 

Radius Bank leveraged banking APIs in multiple parts of their digital banking platform, a few of which are outlined below. 

Two ways Radius Bank implemented APIs:

  1. Radius leveraged Narmi’s API and their Oracle CRM API to create a better support experience for its customers along with a more streamlined call center. 

Messages sent by Radius customers are populated directly in the Oracle CRM. Radius customer support uses this CRM for all customer service-related channels (chat, messages, calls, etc.). The end result is a far more efficient back-office process and a more seamless customer experience across various support channels.

  1. Radius leveraged Narmi’s API for reducing fraud related to ACH transactions.

Every ACH transaction submitted on mobile or online banking channels travels via API to a fraud partner. Radius is able to manually review any ACH transactions flagged as high-risk. The end result is a reduction in fraud and greater confidence to increase ACH limits for customers.

4. A Focus on Mobile

An omni-channel experience is essential today because users expect the same functionality across all channels.However, data around mobile usage continues to surpass those of other channels and Radius’ focus on its mobile application was highlighted by Bankrate as a key reason for the award.

Focusing on mobile involves a few things:

  • Ensuring all functionality is either built into mobile banking first or at the same time as online banking functionality
  • Understanding that the mobile user experience may at times differ from the online banking experience
  • Not being afraid to only offer some functionality in mobile (and not in online banking)

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Why Radius Bank was ranked the #1 online bank in the country by Bankrate.com