For customers 55 years or older, $200 million-asset Crossbridge Community Bank has become a safe haven. The Tomahawk, Wis., community bank saw a need for senior-specific support and established the Golden Community Club program.

Initially, the program had numerous social aspects, such as events, travel and tours, but as it evolved, Crossbridge added banking support for new and emerging banking technology. The community bank now has personalized banking services and financial literacy resources curated for its senior demographic. 

“We have had some iteration of this program for decades,” says Jesica Witte, director of marketing. “It has gone through many names, and the benefits have changed over time, but the concept has always been to provide our 55+ customers with specialty services.”

Support at every life stage

At its core, the program is about serving the customer at all life stages. “Most of our customers are lifelong, meaning that programs like our Golden Community Club are designed to provide next-level services to our loyal base of consumers,” says Witte. “In addition, as technology continues to advance, we have found that adoption and understanding needed to be buoyed for many of our newer technology products.”

Services and features of the program range from automatic withdrawals and direct deposit services to stop-payment orders and safe deposit box rentals. 

According to the members of the Golden Community Club, the most important benefits are financial independence, ongoing education and personalized services. 

“Whether we are helping to install a mobile app or reconciling a bank statement, the members of our Golden Community Club receive the necessary services to remain both protected and armed with the tools to know and understand banking technology, as well as the latest scams targeting our 55+ population,” Witte says.

“We have generations of customers, and many times that retention stems from a younger family member learning about our care and kindness toward their relative through programs like the Golden Community Club.”
—Jesica Witte, Crossbridge Community Bank

Word-of-mouth marketing

The program has just over a thousand members, with fairly consistent enrollment throughout the year. 

In fact, the Golden Community Club extends to the community’s local assisted living community, where the bank provides monthly onsite banking services to help those customers to remain independent and in control of their personal finances. 

“Our universal bankers work directly with club members and their families on setting up critical services, like direct deposits, automatic withdrawals and other automated banking services,” says Witte. “In face-to-face meetings, we often walk members through the technology available and teach them how to access that information on their own.”

How do potential members become aware of the program? Crossbridge’s bankers offer the program to new customers who meet its criteria, as well as to current customers when they become eligible. Otherwise, the community bank only markets the program through its website. 

In short, the positive reputation of the services—and of the bank in general—is what truly keeps customers coming in.

Customers also may stumble upon the program while exploring the community bank’s other offerings, such as its copy and fax services. “It is often someone seeking these services who becomes a member [of the Golden Community Club],” says Witte. “We are one of the few organizations—financial or otherwise—that still provide these types of services.” 

She also notes that the bank resides in a word-of-mouth community with a high population of vacation homeowners and retirees. Those new to the community are often referred to the bank first as mortgage customers and then are introduced to the Golden Community Club.

Making positive change

Members have shown great appreciation for the program, especially because the bankers make the time to answer the phone, meet in person or even go right to customers in extreme circumstances. 

“We have generations of customers, and many times that retention stems from a younger family member learning about our care and kindness toward their relative through programs like the Golden Community Club,” Witte says.

Julie Thompson, activity director at Milestone Senior Living in Tomahawk, Wis., admires the steps taken in her workplace’s community. “It is impressive that the bank comes to our residents, and it is such a convenience to them,” she says. “When we get a new resident, they are always excited to hear that a banker will come once a month to the facility.” 

According to Thompson, the bankers have met with family here, helped manage checking accounts and assisted with documents that need to be notarized. And they’ve really made a difference. 

“No other local bank has ever offered such a service,” she says. “We also love that someone from Crossbridge volunteers to also run some of our bingo days. The bankers really get to know our residents.”