For the last 21 years, River Valley Bank has stood just outside downtown Minocqua along Highway 51 North. Other businesses along the stretch have come and gone, but River Valley Bank’s sign remained — until now. In its place is a new, bright orange sign reading “IncredibleBank.”
There is no need to mourn the loss of River Valley Bank however, as the bank has not left, but is simply in the process of national rebranding.
To celebrate the new name, IncredibleBank is hosting open houses across all 15 of its branches. Minocqua’s IncredibleBank location will be hosting its own public open house at 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 15.
In an interview with The Lakeland Times
, IncredibleBank’s president and CEO Todd Nagel, discussed the rebranding and what it means for the bank and its customers moving forward.
“Among the giants, we’re not surviving, we’re thriving,” he said.
Nagel has been with IncredibleBank since 2004. He came to River Valley Bank through a merger in which the bank acquired several locations from National City Bank in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Nagel was promoted from regional manager to Chief Operating Officer in 2007 and later became President and CEO in 2012.
Nagel said the bank has evolved considerably over the course of his 15 years, with the name being the most visible example.
The name IncredibleBank is actually not new to the company. It all began back in the early 2000s when Pixar’s ‘The Incredibles’ hit theaters. Steve Anderson, now a local to Minocqua and bank president before Nagel, discovered he had a likeness to Mr. Incredible. Rather than shy away from the resemblance, Anderson fully embraced it, dubbing himself the IncrediBanker, and even going so far as to dress up as Mr. Incredible for various company events. To round out the persona, instead of telling customers to have a nice day, he opted for “Have an incredible day.”
Though there could only be one IncrediBanker, employees soon adopted the slogan, ending customer interactions with “Have an incredible day.”
Around the same time, in 2008, the bank was working on an online-only national banking platform in order to expand its customer base. Riding the wave of the “incredible” theme, the online bank was called incrediblebank.com, and has now been in operation for the last 10 years.
The big picture
When asked what spurred the recent decision to rebrand River Valley Bank as IncredibleBank, Nagel said the timing just felt right. Ultimately, the decision was based on three factors, he explained.
First, incrediblebank.com had grown so large that River Valley Bank customers were finding the platform on their own and utilizing its services.
Second, the bank was concerned with market differentiation. Up until the rebranding, the company was technically comprised of three different businesses: River Valley Bank, River Valley Insurance, and IncredibleBank. Since the rebranding would encompass all three businesses on both a regional and national level, the name had to be unique. Nagel pointed out to The Times
that there is a surplus of banks with the word “river” in their names across the United States. In Wisconsin alone, the FDIC lists over 20. Now that the bank has fully rebranded as IncredibleBank, it is the first and only bank in the country to have “incredible” in its name.
Third, Nagel described how the bank’s approach to consumer experience has evolved because of the digital era. The name is meant to reflect this shift. “We don’t think we’re incredible, we think our customers are incredible,” Nagel said.
Over the past two years, the bank has implemented a trademarked sales experience called the Incredible Customer Experience (I.C.E.), which is a key component of the rebranding.
As part of I.C.E., employees open the door for customers as they enter the bank. During their visit, they are offered something to drink — a water, coffee or soda. And of course, upon leaving, customers are sent off with the Steve Anderson classic: “Have an incredible day.”
Nagel explained the motivation behind the philosophy, saying, “Banks have had the reputation in the past of being big, staunch, cold marble buildings. We’re trying to make them welcoming and take the anxiety away from people’s financial decisions.”
Perhaps the most innovative modification IncredibleBank has introduced through I.C.E. is its expansion of banking hours.
While most banks adhere to standard business hours, IncredibleBank’s call center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 to 5 on weekends — that includes Sunday.
“The digital era has enabled us to service our customers 24/7 and that’s what they’re expecting,” Nagel said. “I think it’s required us to give a higher level of customer experience.”
IncredibleBank is committed to delivering the same level of customer service regardless of whether it be over the phone or in person. Anyone contacting the call center will be connected to a live person.
“We try to smile through the phone and welcome every customer and make them feel important because they are. Without the customers, we simply don’t have a business,” Nagel said.
Commitment to community is another large part of IncredibleBank’s mission. As River Valley Bank, the organization prided itself on being a community bank, a focus that will continue.
As part of this mission, the bank set up a foundation to give back to its communities, formerly known as the River Valley foundation. According to Nagel, each year the IncredibleBank foundation donates about $450,000 to charitable causes across IncredibleBank communities.
Minocqua is no exception. It has only been a few years since the foundation made a $720,000 joint donation with Greg and Darcy Nicklaus to Lakeland Union High School, which allowed the school to upgrade from a grass field to a new artificial turf field. Countless football and soccer games have been played in the facility since its grand opening in August 2017. As part of the rebranding, the state-of-the-art facility is now known as the IncredibleBank Field.
The large donation was not totally out of the blue. Greg Nicklaus co-owns IncredibleBank with his brother Todd and each of Greg’s three children attended LUHS and were involved in school athletics.
The donation is perhaps the largest example of how IncredibleBank, management included, goes above and beyond for its communities.
In terms of the future of the bank as a whole, Nagel is optimistic. The CEO believes the core of IncredibleBank is still its 15 regional branches, which are scattered throughout Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
“Our golden goose is our community bank network,” he explained.
As for the national landscape, the bank serves deposit customers in all 50 states and loan customers in 40. One of the niche markets Nagel and his team have honed in on is the financing of luxury motorhomes. Nagel sees the market as a unique opportunity to expand IncredibleBank across the country.
As part of the marketing strategy, the company bought its own high-end motorhome.
“We use it as a tool at tradeshows, mostly in the wintertime in warm areas like Florida and Texas. You don’t want to be driving those around in the winter up here,” Nagel joked.
In addition, Nagel hopes IncredibleBank can continue to find ways to improve I.C.E.
“We want to be open for business at eight o’clock at night when most people sit down and think about their banking business. We need to make sure that our digital platforms are easy to find and easy to use,” he said.
Public open house
Anyone interested in learning more about IncredibleBank’s current and future initiatives can stop by next week’s open house at the Minocqua branch on Oct. 15. Festivities are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. and will include an official ribbon cutting, appetizers, beer, wine, and music. IncredibleBank will also be making a $1,000 contribution to a local charity based on attendee votes.
Todd Nagel himself will be making an appearance and is bringing along the bank’s aforementioned 45-foot luxury motorhome for people to tour.
Nagel and IncredibleBank invite all members of the public to celebrate the rebranding and the bank’s continued commitment to the Lakeland area.
To RSVP, email Susan Grams at [email protected]
or call 715-358-9316.