Customer Stories

Crescent Bank drives workforce financial well-being

The subprime auto lender adopts Dayforce Wallet to support employees and give the company a competitive edge in recruiting and retention.

Money worries keep many Americans up at night. A 2019 Gallup poll found that 36% of people surveyed worried about making ends meet at the end of the month, and 20% worried about being able to pay down their debts. A quarter said they worry about money “all the time.” And since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many families have been facing an increasingly heavy burden financially. A poll released in September 2020 found that 74% of households with children and that made less than $100,000 reported facing serious financial problems.

Crescent Bank knows firsthand the financial challenges people face. The New Orleans-based lender has been providing subprime auto loans to customers for the past 30 years. Most of the customers the bank services have credit ratings that render them unlikely to be approved by other lenders. Crescent Bank helps its customers get the car they need so they can get to work and provide for themselves and their families. The bank funds the loans it makes through the sale of certificates of deposit – a model that’s unique in the United States.

Crescent Bank’s workforce is spread out across 10 locations in the U.S. and internationally, comprising 300 full-time employees and 110 outsourced staff. Most of the full-time employees are hourly, and approximately half of them work out of the company’s call center in Dallas, Texas. At the call center, employees service customer needs and requests and are also in charge of collections – a high-stress and often difficult role.

While Crescent Bank is a progressive company that prides itself on taking good care of its employees and staying true to its core values, the challenging nature of the call center roles means turnover is high. “That's just the nature of the business. It's a very high stress, very performance-based type of position,” says Diana C. Derbas, Human Resources Director, Senior Vice President.

Experiencing an operational lift with Dayforce

Crescent Bank adopted Dayforce three years ago to reduce manual processes and reliance on paper, streamline its recruiting, and reduce its time-to-hire. The company now uses Dayforce for payroll, benefits, HR,  time and attendance, recruiting, onboarding, and performance.

“We were very unhappy with our previous payroll provider. We had a lot of disparate systems across the bank fulfilling different functions. We chose Dayforce because we wanted everything in one system. We wanted our employees to be able to access one system for their pay, performance management, and benefits,” says Stephen Notarianni, Crescent Bank’s CFO. “From my point of view as CFO, the biggest value Dayforce provides is the dollar savings. We now pay for one consolidated system instead of multiple, disparate systems. Since moving to Dayforce, we've saved about $40,000 a year.”

Dayforce has also helped Crescent Bank cut its payroll processing time in half. “Dayforce has reduced the time it takes us to run payroll. It used to take us about four and a half days. Now it takes just over two days,” says Derbas.

When they heard about Dayforce Wallet, Notarianni and Derbas were interested, but they also had hesitations. Dayforce Wallet is a flexible pay solution that gives employees real-time access to the wages they’ve earned – before payday. The solution continuously calculates net pay, including remittances, which means employees who use it receive a payout of net earnings, as opposed to an advance. On the employer side, companies maintain their existing payroll processes and payroll funding schedule and get real-time reports showing itemized and cumulative withdrawals per employee. Best of all, if employees need to access funds to cover an emergency, they can use Dayforce Wallet to access funds they’ve actually earned instead of relying on high-interest credit cards or payday loans. The rest of the time, their paychecks stay the same.

While Derbas liked the idea of providing that flexibility to employees, she worried the solution might allow employees to accidentally overdraw their accounts and get into financial trouble. She also worried it would cause payroll headaches for the organization, and that the implementation would be difficult and require time the company simply did not have available to commit to the process.

Providing additional flexibility in response to COVID-19

At the onset of COVID-19, Derbas’s outlook around offering Dayforce Wallet to employees changed. While the company was able to retain most of its staff, many employees were experiencing layoffs in their families or communities, which caused their financial stress to mount.

“When COVID hit, I really said to myself, ‘This is a time to pivot, to offer options, to be open to how business can be done differently and how we can serve our employees differently,’" remembers Derbas. She saw that Dayforce Wallet could be very useful for staff in this time of uncertainty by making it easier for them to access wages when they needed them – whether for an unexpected expense, to pay debt down faster, or just to cover day-to-day living costs.

Derbas and her team spent some time doing due diligence around the product to ensure that it wouldn’t have any unintended negative effects on employees or on payroll. “Through the implementation process, we were able to put standards in place to prevent people from overdrawing. We have a parameter in place that establishes a buffer that's always there,” says Derbas.

The implementation itself took a surprisingly short amount of time. “The most surprising part of the implementation process was how easy it was. I kept saying, "Is that it? Are we sure? Did we cover everything?” she adds. The ease of implementation meant that Derbas and her team were able to spend more time and energy on socializing the tool and supporting employees with financial literacy training and resources. 

Notarianni was also pleased with the process. “The fact that the first payroll after implementing Dayforce Wallet was successful and we didn't have the whole house come crumbling down was very reassuring. We had good support from the Ceridian team. We were connected with them and had good communication. So, from day one, we were able to achieve those benefits from just going live,” he says.

Smoothing the road for employees with on-demand pay

In just the first few months after Crescent Bank rolled out Dayforce Wallet, 12% of its employees have already registered and used the solution. Derbas and her team are working to make sure all staff know it’s available and how it works, so they know it’s there when they need it.

Post Charge-Off Manager Benjamin Sanders works at the Dallas call center and manages a group of 18 collectors. He was on the testing team for Dayforce Wallet during the implementation process and remembers he “had a lot of questions about how it would work.”

One morning, Sanders woke up to a dead car battery. He had to replace it immediately but didn’t have the cash on hand to pay for the expense. So, he used Dayforce Wallet to transfer available funds he’d already earned and used them to pay for his battery.

“After using it, I know it’s phenomenal. My favorite thing is it gives me peace of mind. I know that if I have something come up, I have the ability to pay for what I need. It's definitely a good benefit to employees.”

Derbas agrees. “What I like is that when I open the app, I'm immediately able to see how much money I have available to me right now. I click on a detail page and I can see what taxes have already been accounted for, if there were garnishments or child support, if there are medical premiums, or vision or dental premiums – that's all been taken out. So, I know that my responsibilities are taken care of, and I can see what’s available for me to use,” she says. “And if I have any questions, the help screen has all the questions and answers I could ever think of.”

Recruiting and retaining employees to support continued growth

Reducing turnover is an issue that’s been top of mind for Crescent Bank during the pandemic. Many families have been forced to make difficult decisions about how to balance child care responsibilities and employment. Crescent Bank is working to provide its employees with as much flexibility as possible to help them through this challenging time.

“When you work in a call center, there are some things that aren't very flexible. We need employees at their desk, on the phones making calls. While we can’t offer a ton of flexibility with attendance, we can provide it with this solution, a benefit that other shops are not offering,” says Derbas.

Both Derbas and Notarianni are also looking forward to how Dayforce Wallet will support the company’s recruiting efforts. “By providing Dayforce Wallet, we're able to give people another reason to join our team, and another reason to stay on our team,” says Notarianni.

“We absolutely believe that Dayforce Wallet is going to make a difference in our recruiting,” adds Derbas. “When you work in collections, you get paid an hourly rate, and then you also get paid incentives. So, already you're used to not knowing exactly what your paycheck is going to be each month. But in addition to that, you're always waiting for that monthly incentive payout. Crescent Bank will be the only shop in town that offers a way for people to get their money sooner. We believe it's going to be a real upsell when we're getting ready to close and offer a job position to a prospective employee.”

With plans to expand in size in the coming years, Crescent Bank is focused on implementing solutions and incentives that will help the company retain high-performing employees and attract more of them to the team. Dayforce Wallet is another solution that will help the company power growth and support more customers in driving away in the vehicle that’s right for them and their families.

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