If you’d rather log in than come in, the Bank of St. Francisville has your connections covered
Back in 1996, if you wanted an email address and you lived in West Feliciana, you went to the Bank of St. Francisville. Long before the likes of Gmail, Yahoo, and AT&T made signing up for an email account universal, the Bank of St. Francisville served as the only Internet Service Provider for West Feliciana Parish. “When I started here in 1992 there wasn’t such thing as Internet,” says Jim Chaffin, CFO & EVP of Operations at Bank of St. Francisville. “After a couple of years we installed a roomful of modems upstairs and offered Internet access to our customers. So if you wanted Internet, you came to the bank. It was not something people were doing back then, but it’s made the perfect segue into who we are today.”
What is the Bank of St. Francisville today? A local institution that marries the relationship-first approach of a small-town bank, with sophisticated online tools that put a wide range of banking tools at its clients’ fingertips. Customers can access their accounts quickly and securely, anywhere and anytime. They can receive account alerts and e-statements in their email inbox, view past statements conveniently stored online, transfer money between accounts, view images of deposited checks, settle bills (and stop worrying about late payments), and pay everyone from the builder to the babysitter using People Pay right from their smartphone. “All of our online services keep our customers from having to come into the bank,” says Jim. “It’s phenomenal. It just makes life so much easier.”
Those new to the power and convenience of online banking might (and should) have questions about security. Tanya Arbuthnot, Electronic Banking Officer, notes that BSF’s online banking tools are protected by powerful encryption technologies to ensure that each transaction is protected from fraud. She explains that, if a hacker gets hold of your credit or debit card number, they will often precede a larger fraudulent purchase with one for a small amount, to check the card is activated. “We have an external fraud company that monitors daily transactions and knows what you do and will flag a transaction if something doesn’t look right,” she says. If a customer’s card is compromised, Tanya can quickly remedy the situation. “Most of my customers have my cell number,” she says. “Even if I have to come to work on a Saturday or Sunday, I’ll come freeze your card if that’s what needs to be done.” Try getting that service from a bigger bank.
What’s more, with no paper statements to be stolen from the mailbox, customers’ account information has never been more secure—or easy to access—than it is in today’s modern, digital banking environment.
Keeping Your Accounts Secure
To keep online accounts secure, Tanya recommends that customers follow a few simple security tips:
1: Strong Passwords: Create a strong, unique password that contains letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t store your password on your computer, don’t share it with others, and change it regularly.
2: Use Your Own Computer: Generally it is safer to access online accounts from your own computer or device. Don’t use public computers to access your online banking accounts unless you must. If you have to use a public computer, be sure to log out of your account completely using the “Log Out” button to terminate access,” and clear the browser history after your session.
3: Read Your Monthly Statements: If you see a suspicious transaction, you’ll catch it right away. If you do see a mistake, contact the bank immediately.
4: Going Out of Town? Because the external security company monitors your spending habits, it may flag transactions that take place outside of your usual patterns. So if you’re traveling out of the country or even to another state, let the bank know you’ll be making purchases outside of your usual routine. Tanya will note it to your accounts to ensure that you have uninterrupted access for the duration of your trip.
5: Be Suspicious of Emails Requesting Personal Information: The bank will never ask you to verify sensitive information in an email. Never respond to an email that requests you supply your username or password. If you receive such an email, call the bank to report it. Rest assured that you’ll get a real live person first time, every time.
With all the technological tools available today, bank customers have easier access to their accounts than ever before. Best of all, each transaction is backed by the Bank of St. Francisville’s unparalleled customer service. “You have to think, ‘What happens if something goes wrong?,’ says Carter III, President and CEO. It’s still one of our most compelling benefits—being able to really know and talk to the people who are serving you.”