Home Bank of California Fosters Relationships, Extends Reach with Virtual Branch

Turnkey Interactive Virtual Branch Increases Efficiency & Expands Revenue Opportunities

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digital-first service
Eliminate brand-building limitations of only one branch
banking platform
Mirror the personalized branch experience virtually
digital-first service
Extend the branch network cost-efficiently


Enabling a comprehensive virtual branch with real-time support extended banking services beyond physical footprint
Facilitating channel of choice & digital guidance, such as CoBrowing, continued strengthening customer relationships
Implementing a single-platform, streamlined digital solution effectively supported all customer interactions



mile extended footprint


video engagements accepted when asked

20 sec

average wait time
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Over $242 million in assets under management
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Established in 1981 with its headquarters in San Diego
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Serves both retail and commercial customers
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A+ Health Rating, according to Deposit Accounts
• 4 min read

Virtual Branch Vision—Keeping the Customer in Front

Established in 1981, Home Bank of California is San Diego’s hometown bank, offering personal and business banking customers the best of both worlds—the personal service of a locally owned bank along with some of the most powerful capabilities available in online banking. Focusing mainly on commercial real estate banking customers, the bank did not have the same urgent need to interact with its customers in multiple ways, until it decided to broaden its customer base.

In 2019, with the goal of adding retail banking to its service portfolio, the single-branch community bank considered expanding by adding branches. But recently appointed Christy Schmitt, SVP, Business Banking Managing Director and 45-year banking veteran envisioned a different strategy: One where the bank could add the convenience of services provided by a branch without adding another physical location, “where the customer could be right in front of us, 60 miles away.”

Holistic Solution Delivers

To execute on that approach, Home Bank of California needed more than the aging phone system and email that they were using to handle customer service. And it was also clear that adding chat alone would not help the bank fulfill its strategy. To achieve its virtual banking vision of keeping the customer front and center, the bank needed a more comprehensive solution, which brought them to Glia.

“When I came across Glia, I thought: That’s exactly what I wanted. It was a no-brainer for me, especially as part of my virtual branch strategy. Glia Interactive Virtual Branch offered everything in one package versus having to figure out how to do it all,” said Christy Schmitt, SVP, Business Banking Managing Director.

The goal for the virtual branch was to offer any services that were provided in the physical branch, allowing their customers to decide their channel of choice based on their needs and preferences. From opening an account to applying for a loan and more, the bank could extend its services far beyond its physical branch footprint, providing more revenue opportunities. Having only one branch was no longer an issue for growth.

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Personal Touch Remains with Digital Expansion

While there were some concerns that a virtual branch would be impersonal and potentially weaken customer relationships, these did not play out. Home Bank of California continues fostering its strong customer relationships. Having a unified, holistic solution for all customer interactions ensures the customer speaks to the right person from the beginning. Transitions are smooth and fast, and the experience is highly personal with 75% of customers opting to use video during their interactions when asked.

“We have been very successful at building relationships through the Glia Interactive Virtual Branch, which I was a little skeptical about but was proven wrong,” noted Schmitt.

The Glia Interactive Virtual Branch (IVB) is easy to use for both customers and employees, which inspired the bank to roll it out to its relationship managers and loan processors to extend the digital relationship with customers. When someone is filling out an application online, the relationship manager receives a notification prompting them to reach out and proactively offer assistance. Using features such as CoBrowsing, the banker can help the customer with the application in real time, just as if they were in the branch together.

Now with IVB, Home Bank of California can also maximize efficiencies. Its universal bankers have access to the Glia platform to guide customers in addition to their usual duties. This visibility allows them to effectively use their time and provide a personal touch to customer interactions—with no additional staff needed. With this flexible staffing, the bank only takes 20 seconds to respond to a client’s interaction.

Set-up for Continuing Success

Home Bank of California can provide customers, regardless of their proximity, with the exceptional level of service and personal interaction that they would get if they walked into a branch, without the high cost of a physical branch. As an easy, holistic solution, IVB has extended the bank’s footprint and provided scalable efficiencies, setting it up for future success.

“I definitely see Glia as part of the future of the growth of the bank,” Schmitt added.

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