New referral program attracts 300 accounts

Nodaway Valley Bank (St. Joseph, MO) has a “Send-a-Friend’ offer that's proven to be a great way for the bank to procure new checking accounts, plus reward customers for their referrals.

Nodaway Valley Bank (St. Joseph, MO) has a “Send-a-Friend” offer that’s proven to be a great way for the bank to procure new checking accounts, plus reward existing customers for their referrals. 

Tiffany Dishon, Assistant Vice President, says customers typically like to refer friends and family to the bank, even without a formal referral program in place. “We were already getting referrals from our existing clients, but we noticed that some of our competition had a more formal process and decided to try that route.”

She says the referral program essentially allows the bank to thank the customers for their business and for spreading the word.

The bank rolled out its formal referral program last November and pays $25 for a referral. 

They’ve also made referring new customers easy. They can come into a branch or go online and simply provide their name, phone number and the name of the person they’d like to refer. And while an online form makes referring easy, Dishon reports that most of the referrals come in through a branch where forms are readily available. 

Once the referral is made, the bank’s employees do a great job of keeping their eye out for new customers. “Then we scan the database and our relationship bankers do a good job of being aware when a new customer opens a checking account. 

“When we identify a referral match we credit the existing customer’s account with the $25, plus send them a thank you.  The credit also shows up on the customer’s statement too.”

With regard to the new customer, they get a reward too. “The customer needs to make a recurring direct deposit or an ACH. Once they have a recurring ACH or Direct Deposit they also receive a $25 credit too.”  New customers have a wide choice of checking accounts but most opt for the bank’s reward, free checking or care-free card accounts. 

Marketing has been mainly through word of mouth by customers and employees. “We’ve just started to dip our toe into social, and direct mail is also a possibility in 2019.” 

Dishon says the bank has already had some encouraging results. “The program helped us open 300 new accounts in the first year.”

She adds that once the new customer opens a checking account, they become part of an onboarding program. “Two weeks after the customer opens the checking account we call them to see if we can help with anything else. Then we make contact a month later and then three months later. We want to make sure the products are still a great fit and to follow up on any other needs.” 

Connection: Tiffany Dishon, Assistant Vice President, Nodaway Valley Bank, St. Joseph, MO; phone: 816.901.4604; email:

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