Community First Bank Moves HR & Payroll Function To The Cloud With PayNorthwest

credit-cardConsolidation in the banking industry in Eastern Washington created a need for a locally owned and operated community bank that was responsive to customer needs and would provide the relationships that are so important to both businesses and consumers. As a result, Community First Bank was born in Kennewick in 1997 to provide local customers from the Tri-Cities area of Washington state with personalized service and attention. Today, the bank employs 62 people with branches in Connell, Pasco, and Richland.


Community First Bank had been outsourcing its human resource (HR) and payroll function with a national big-box solutions provider for a while, but it was not happy with many aspects of the relationship, starting with the multiple login system and the lack of personalized customer service and support. For any questions, Community First Bank had to go through the provider’s call center, with all the inconvenience that comes with it – getting put on hold for long periods of time, talking to a different person every time, and having to explain why they were calling over and over.

The national provider was also very inflexible in terms of the reports being generated which are typically used by larger companies, but provide way too many levels of detail for small businesses. “We knew we needed to switch to an intuitive software solution with a single login to make it simpler for our employees to use,” explains Greg Burck, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for the bank. “Our customer relationships are very important to us. We’d rather see our employees spend more time serving customers and less time on complex internal administration duties.”


As a fellow member of the Washington Banking Association (WBA), Community First Bank heard about PayNorthwest and decided to explore their solutions. “We didn’t even look at any other HR and payroll solution vendors during our discovery process,” continues Burck. “We had the TimeLumina demo, found that the solution was easy to navigate, would save us money, and met all of our needs. We were sold right away.”

In June 2011, the bank started using PayNorthwest’s payroll, time and attendance, and industry specific general ledger interface, then added the HR module to the mix. “In addition to enabling us to do things we couldn’t do before, PayNorthwest is a much better match for us in terms of customized solution – a small business provider who knows the needs of a small business,” adds Katie Policar, Vice President and HR Director for Community First Bank. “Now we can all work on the same employee record keeping and asset tracking system at the same time. In addition, our new system gives supervisors a lot more freedom to manage employees rather than managing multiple spreadsheets or filling out paper forms.”

Within a very short time, PayNorthwest created the report formats that Community First Bank requested to provide transparent information to employees. Like for all of its customers, PayNorthwest assigned a dedicated client advisor to the bank. “Having this direct line of communication and certainty that the same person will pick up the phone and answer your questions is invaluable for us. Our client advisor makes us feel that she has all the time in the world for us,” says Burck. “We used to get a lot of complaints from our employees about our previous payroll and HR system. But since the PayNorthwest implementation, we haven’t had one single one.”

Business Results

After completing their training, Community First Bank staff immediately felt the positive effects of PayNorthwest’s cloud-based solution.

  • Significant cost savings compared to previous national big-box vendor (12% per year)
  • Increase in staff productivity
  • Enhanced customer service
  • Faster, more accurate payroll processing

“Transitioning our HR and payroll processes to the cloud was actually much easier than we thought and we haven’t looked back since,” concludes Burck. “Not only does this enable us to be more efficient as an organization, it also allows all of our employees to spend less time on repetitive administrative tasks and more time on what’s really important – delivering great service to our customers.”