Andrew Linn – Orrstown Bank
By most accounts, Andrew Linn loved his job providing cybersecurity for a large multinational bank in New York City. Among his many duties, he made sure every single tap—to access a bank account on a mobile app or pay for a new purchase—was protected from hackers and phishers.
Yet, while the bank’s clients were comfortably, securely tapping away, Linn was tapping his feet. After 15 years, which included a multi-hour train commute between the city and his home in Pennsylvania and many days spent living in a hotel room, the job was taking a toll. So, in 2014, when a bank near his hometown called looking for someone to revamp its security protocols, Linn was all ears.
Orrstown Bank was growing and wanted to compete with larger corporations while continuing to serve local, loyal clients, and it wanted him as part of the new management team.
Linn knew it would be challenge. He’d need to create high-tech security and privacy protections on a limited budget. However, he also knew the role would give him a chance to be creative. So he jumped on board—and off the commuter train for good.
“In a large, well-established bank, new ideas get processed slowly, and you don’t have much room to be imaginative,” Linn explains. “There’s a lot of red tape there; whereas a smaller bank allows you much more freedom to charge through boundaries.”
A digital phoenix in Pennsylvania
Linn’s first step was to bring on a new leadership team in 2011.
More than anything, he recalls, the bank needed people who understood the challenges of a small bank, like smaller clients, less revenue and a limited budget to improve services—whether in person or virtual.
It took a few years to find the right people, but like others across Orrstown’s new management team, Linn says he relished the challenge. As he remembers, “we all realized that a community bank cannot survive in status quo. Now, we earn our independence every day, because if we don’t provide services that match other bigger banks, then someone will come and buy us out.”
Having worked with a well-established multinational bank, Linn was well aware that Orrstown wouldn’t win on price alone. Instead, he and his peers focused on what draws locals to their community banks: personalized services.
“Most young people open their first bank accounts at their family’s banks. Quite often, this is a local community bank,” he explains. “As those young people age, go to college and move away from home, they often reluctantly switch to a new, local bank.”
Orrstown knew the solution: Provide clients with the ability to conduct all in-person services—such as depositing checks and opening accounts—securely through their computer or phone. Now, any Orrstown client can open a new checking account, make changes to an existing account and make deposits virtually. What’s more, in the event they move to a state where Orrstown branches aren’t available, they won’t have to switch banks.
“We’re not only providing ease of access; we’re showing that we understand and appreciate loyalty,” he says.
Live help is only one click away
The goal, Linn says, is to replicate the experience of walking into a bricks-and-mortar branch. To that end, when clients use the new app or the website, they can virtually speak with a real person—for instance, a or an investment advisor. By 2022, Orrstown hopes to deploy live video chats so that clients can securely discuss everything from investments to opening certificates of deposit.
These measures have both brought new clients to Orrstown and helped retain them, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic dissuaded people from entering public spaces.
“Banks today are really technology companies,” Linn explains. “Today’s world demands instant gratification. We need to constantly provide innovative and secure tech solutions. The environment is extremely dynamic, but we feel that we can and do anticipate client needs.”
That philosophy has been working. Since bringing on the new management team, the bank has expanded into new markets, including Baltimore, and nearly tripled its assets, from $1.1 billion in 2014 to nearly $3 billion, according to a recent press release.
That’s satisfying to Linn for reasons more than money alone. Having grown up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, he says it’s gratifying to return, though he sometimes misses the fast pace of larger cities, which, surprisingly, makes Harrisburg such a great fit. There, he’s close to NYC, Philly, D.C. and Baltimore.
“I’m still centrally located, but now I’m a part of the community that I’m helping to grow, and I have more time with my family,” Linn says. “Through Orrstown, I can make sure that our clients always take a little bit of home with them, no matter where they go.”
View this feature in the Fall I 2021 Edition here.
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