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Citizens Bank of Las Cruces Responds to Customers' Needs

CUSTOMER: Citizens Bank of Las Cruces, NM was founded in 1970 and serves as a hometown community bank that caters to consumers looking for good local service.

CHALLENGE: In 2013, a large retailer announced a massive data breach that affected millions of people. SOLUTION: Citizens Bank of Las Cruces proactively reached out to their customers to help them through getting emergency card replacements.

RESULTS: By partnering with Datacard Group and utilizing Datacard® Instant Issuance Solutions, the community bank was able to increase customer satisfaction, while reducing expedited shipping expenses and overall disruption to their business.

WHEN DATA BREACHES HAPPEN In late Dec. 2013, a large retailer revealed that a massive data breach compromised card records during the holiday shopping season -- ultimately impacting millions of people and leading to roughly 110 million debit and credit card details being available on the black market. Thousands of financial institutions across the United States were also affected; The Wall Street Journal recently stated that financial institutions have spent over $200 million in losses – which includes covering the cost of reprinting payment cards and paying for expedited shipping fees. When there is a large scale of reissued cards, consumers are expected to wait a prolonged period of time – more than the usual 7-10 business days – to receive their new payment card in the mail. A

PROACTIVE APPROACH When the unexpected data breach occurred, restoring customer confidence was essential. Immediately after the breach was made public, Citizens Bank identified 798 compromised cards, and proactively contacted these customers. These cardholders were given the option of either walking into the main branch location and receiving an instant issue replacement card or getting one expedited in the mail. With the ability to bypass central issuance systems, customers were able to avoid the delayed wait time to receive an activated, secure payment card. “As the data breach unfolded and the magnitude of it became greater, we realized that we were going to need to replace these cards in their entirety,” said Mark Beer, vice president of Citizens Bank. “Instant issue allowed us to do that much quicker, and customers had their new replacement card in their hands sooner – which gave them the confidence and convenience to continue using the card.” In the days following the breach as customers received their new cards, feedback was very positive.  Customers appreciated Citizens Bank of Las Cruces taking the initiative to proactively reach out to them and offer the ability to walk into the branch to receive a new card or have one mailed in an expedited manner. “It was a huge advantage to have this program,” said Grant Buck, marketing officer of Citizens Bank.  “People were worried, they were concerned.  So instead of waiting two weeks for their card to come in the mail, we were able to reissue all of their cards right there on the spot. It was an excellent added value that the instant issue card allowed us to do.”

AN EFFICIENT BUSINESS MODEL By having the ability to instantly issue emergency replacement cards, Citizens Bank of Las Cruces was also able to minimize their spending costs and lessen the disruption to their overall business during the 2013 breach. Normally, if there is a compromise, or lost or stolen card, central card operations would typically have to expedite card issuance. They would overnight ship the cards to get their customers a replacement as quickly as possible.  Because of their instant issue program, Citizens Bank of Las Cruces reduced the amount of rush and overnight delivery costs that come with having to mail re-issued emergency card replacements. This ultimately created a more efficient and cost-effective environment.

PARTNERING WITH DATACARD GROUP In Aug. of 2013, Citizens Bank of Las Cruces partnered with Datacard Group to help enhance customer service levels. By utilizing Datacard® hardware and software, they are able to provide a customer-centric program that gives customers the ability to choose from a gallery of personalized debit cards. Customers can walk into the main branch, choose a card and walk out with a fully activated, secure card - in a matter of minutes. “Instant issuance is important to us because it allows us to provide a better level of service to our customers,” said Beer.  “It gives our customers choices of what they’d like to put in their pocket.  If it’s the card that they like, it will be the card that they use. Top of wallet is very important.”

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