Our Branch Transformation Story: Why it Worked For FCNB


This post is guest authored by Judy Long, President and COO of First Citizens National Bank  in Tennessee.

Our busiest branch, in Dyersburg, Tn., was bursting at the seams. We were handling 26,000 transactions per month and we needed more space – but we didn’t have the space at that location to add square footage. We needed to reconfigure the branch to be more efficient. And I thought, if we could make it work there, we could make it work anywhere.

I had seen Chris Gill speak at a conference, and after listening to him talk about branch transformation, I was sold. I felt like I would be getting a partnership with his team, rather than just having some experts come in, throw some plans on the table and leave. When I made the phone call, he didn’t try to feed me stock answers. He said, ‘let me look at it first.’ His Advisory Services team came down to Tennessee and performed an efficiency study of a group of our facilities that we thought needed renovations, starting with the Dyersburg branch.

They gave us a plan for each individual branch location, with recommendations on improving the floor plan, a cost-justification analysis and figures on the efficiency improvements we could gain through automation. From the very beginning, it was thorough – and that was exactly the way I wanted it. At my company, people hear me say it all the time: if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

I believe the process is what made our transformation successful. We invested a tremendous amount of time, planning and forethought into the renovation. We were very, very methodical about each step of the process. And maybe it took us a little longer to get it done, but we did it the right way. It gave us the time to change the culture, shift the mindsets, gain acceptance of this project that’s going to really change the way our entire organization operates. If you don’t have the acceptance of a majority of your staff, then it’s not going to work.

I remember giving presentations to the board on our branch transformation initiatives, and I had this realization about how dependent this project was on so many people. And of course every organization is going to have people who aren’t ready for large-scale changes like the ones we were suggesting. I was saying to myself, well, this is pass or fail! I think in the end, we passed all right.

Here’s the thing: working with Diebold’s Advisory Services team caused us to add steps to the process of our branch transformation – but they were critical steps that helped us in the long run. They encouraged us to think about changing the way we hire employees, rewriting the job descriptions, making sure we have updated procedures documented and implemented. We were running blind in the beginning. Their team brought in specialists who were helping us with best practices – and we took their advice! If you’re going to be successful, you need to listen to those who have been through the process. And from that, we began to ask questions and form our own new processes.

Every step of the way, every time I had a question, the Advisory Services team was there to talk. They held our hands through the Dyersburg branch renovation, from start to finish – and we’re still talking today.

Interested in finding out more about how Diebold’s Advisory Service experts can help your organization transform?  Reach out here.

Judy Long Bio Photo

JUDY LONG / President and Chief Operating Officer, First Citizens National Bank

Judy Long graduated from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, with a degree in Finance.  She has been with First Citizens National Bank since 1974, beginning her career in the loan area, moving to the position of Chief Operations Officer and currently serving as President and COO.  Judy is involved in and has served on the boards of numerous professional and community organizations. To name a few, she currently serves on the Board of Directors for Fidelity National Information Systems (FNIS) Charter Bank Group, the Board of Directors of NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association, and Chairperson of Tennessee Bankers Technology Conference Advisory Committee.