F&M Bank

The Problem

Since 1907, Farmers & Merchants Bank (F&M) has served Southern California residents and businesses as a partner, community leader and neighbor. F&M’s longevity, combined with their low loan-to-value product line niche, personal and online banking products, has contributed to their ranking among the top 5% of their class. But like many financial institutions, F&M very early on adopted a conservative approach to marketing and product development that didn’t often keep pace with the needs of its customers. Until recently, F&M had been very modest and slow about repositioning their marketing, technology, sales, and even their corporate culture.


Strata-Media’s ultimate goal was to provide a profitable and positive end-to-end customer experience. Strata would accomplish this by transforming F&M’s more traditional culture into a wired for the future team including the adoption of a new customer-centered philosophy and technology. From there, Strata would integrate and match marketing (brand position) to brand support (internal).

The Solution

  • Implement strategic marketing program with primary and secondary research, which included internal analysis, secret shopping and competitive analysis.
  • Tailor a specific employee and customer-centered training program for 150 executive and middle management employees.
  • Lower employee attrition and operational costs.
  • Upgrade corporate identity including all corporate and branch collateral.
  • Create media and advertising campaigns.
  • Create a design and tactic for on-line banking initiative and technology.
  • Integrate a call center strategy to support advertising and media including outbound lead generation and database development.

The Result

  • Opened the door for the formation of a new corporate culture.
  • Created a profitable, customer-centered internal training program called “About Face.”
  • Created an employee training program called F&M University.
  • Developed F&M’s new positioning statement, “Rooted in Tradition, Wired for the Future.”
  • Integrated the new positioning statement into all corporate collateral, signage, marketing communications materials.
  • Created and launched the “NO” (fees, points, closing costs, etc.) product campaign and position.
  • Designed and launched an online banking program resulting in 99% client registration.
  • Implemented inbound/outbound call center, which currently supports 16 branches with more than $3 billion in opportunities and $500 million in closed loans.
  • Assisted F&M in increasing their loan portfolio from $442.7 million in FY 2000 to $627.8 million during FY 2001 — a total of 42% increase in net loans.
  • Helped F&M grow their total assets by 13.4% from $1.9 billion to $2.16 billion!

Helped grew total deposits by 10.4%, which was a net increase of $130.5 million!