Lakeland Bank Case Study


Lakeland Bank

52 branch offices in 8 New Jersey counties and 1 branch office in New York
$5.4 billion in assets


  • Wide product lineup needed to be streamlined

  • Past acquisitions left them with too many grandfathered accounts

  • Needed to increase non-interest income

  • Wanted to appeal to young audience and value buyers


  • Develop new simplified product lineup consisting of four accounts, including Elite Checking, built with BaZing benefits

  • Perform CheckingScore analysis to identify single service accounts and move them to BaZing Checking to deepen their relationship

  • Upgrade 16,500 unprofitable accounts to Elite Checking


  • On average, 25% of new checking customers choose Elite Checking

  • $4 million increase in DDA balances

  • $240,000 increase in base fee income over 6 months



Serving customers with a banking experience that enhances their lives is something to celebrate. With one of the best retail sales cultures in the country, Lakeland Bank, based in Oak Ridge, New Jersey, has made their checking account lineup, digital marketing for financial services, as well as every aspect of the customer experience, a true celebration.

“Our employees have great pride in the Bank and in their personal performances,” said Ellen Lalwani, Lakeland’s Senior Vice President of Retail. “Whatever the business driver is, they stay dedicated to our Company mandate – making sure customers are always offered the right product for them.”

Their people believe in what they do. Their executive management team cares about the people in the branches and connects them with what they’re doing and why they do it. They’ve built a culture of caring, customer service and enthusiasm.
— StrategyCorps Partner Dave DeFazio


Mingling with the Elite

In February 2012, Ellen and the Lakeland team needed to increase profitability as well as streamline the number of checking accounts offered. They also wanted to create a better appeal for their customer base, primarily their younger audience and value buyers, and grow with digital marketing for financial services.

A CheckingScore analysis was first performed to identify single service accounts. Of those accounts, 16,500 were upgraded into the new Elite Checking, built with the benefits of BaZing and launched within a new lineup of just four accounts.

“From the first analysis to the branding of Elite, the amount of people involved in the entire project is a testament of their teamwork,” said Dave. “Everyone, at every level, cared so much about making it exactly right.”

“We had regional managers in every training session to support us and share in our enthusiasm and to help us tell a new story about checking accounts to the bank,” said Dina Bowling, Director of Client Services at StrategyCorps. “Their presence instantly told everyone how important it was.”

Since its launch, Elite Checking has consistently been the product of choice for 25% of customers, which is right on target with the Bank’s initial goal.

“We celebrate those numbers every week with reports sent out on checking account production,” said Ellen. “And every quarter, we bring together all the best branch employees to reward their successes. People let their hair down and enjoy the celebration, like accepting ‘Captain Elite’ Awards from our President, who puts on a cape and ‘flies’ around at every rally. We are big believers in having some fun at work to keep people energized and motivated.”

“Lakeland is a very well-oiled retail machine,” said Dina. “They’ve skillfully crafted and implemented a customer-centric sales process that branch employees truly embrace, which can be a rare find in our industry. Their simplified lineup, including Elite Checking with BaZing benefits, provides employees a superior menu of relevant products to meet the needs of every customer.”