Republic Bank: Celebrating the POWER of RED


Imagine you’re at work, and you’ve gone above and beyond while helping one of your customers. Suddenly a team of 5 people dressed in red swag arrives with streamers, boas, party hats and noisemakers to congratulate you on a job well-done. It may look and sound like a party, but for Republic Bank employees, also known as “FANatics,” it’s just another day at the office.

“When a customer comes back and says, ‘Wow, I would have never expected my bank to take that action,’ it’s pretty incredible stuff.”

It’s all part of the Bank’s people-centric mission for its employees to “Do the Red Thing.” Referring to the Bank’s red logo that is a fixture across 34 retail stores in the tristate area, the Do the Red Thing Program has FANatics providing exemplary customer service all day, every day, and committing to serve the communities where they do business.

The Republic Bank team has always prioritized innovative culture that “surprises and delights” customers. That goal isn’t just for Republic Bank to gain new customers, but to gain “fans.” In 2020, Forbes named Republic Bank America’s #1 Bank for Service. And that means not only serving its customers, but its FANatics’ career and personal development as well.

The bank recently enhanced the value of its tuition reimbursement benefit for eligible employees, expanded continuing education offerings and formalized its career path program to increase upward mobility.  “We’re particularly proud that 25% of our new hires have come through current employee referrals,” says Sharon Hammel, Republic Bank’s Executive Vice President/Chief Retail Officer. “It’s a great testament to our incredible culture.”

Seeing red – in action

Before being able to serve customers a full menu of retail and commercial bank services, every new hire at Republic Bank participates in the R-Vision Training Program, which introduces them to the company’s 5 POWER principles. “We encourage all employees to live by these principles each and every day,” says Hammel.

The POWER principles are:

• P Promises are Always Kept

• O One to Say Yes, 2 to Say No – Bump it Up! (Translation: FANatics should say “yes” to customers and call on management if they have to say “no.”)

• W Welcome Everyone, Make Them Feel Special

• E Exceed Customers’ Expectations Every Time

• R Recover the Republic Way, Make Every Wrong Right

In her decade at the bank, Hammel has been wowed by all the times she has seen FANatics take these POWER principles to heart. She has seen and heard stories of FANatics walking customers to their cars with an umbrella when it’s raining, changing a customer’s flat tire in the bank’s parking lot, even driving to a customer’s home when there were papers to be signed and the person couldn’t make it into a retail store. “It’s the ‘E’ in the POWER principles,” says Hammel. “Exceed customers’ expectations every time.”

And when a team of employees makes a fuss over a FANatic, it’s impossible not to take notice. Everyone within earshot will find out exactly how the employee served the customer. “We want everyone to enjoy and celebrate with that employee for what they’ve done,” says Hammel. The FANfare team comes bearing gifts, like gift cards or Republic Bank swag from its Do the Red Thing employee recognition platform.

And certainly, everyone at Republic Bank embraced the POWER principles in full force during the pandemic. When the world shut down and other industries sent teams home to work remotely, Republic’s hard work began. The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) had just been introduced, and loans needed to be processed.

Hammel recalls those long hours at work during unprecedented times. Across the company, “It was an ‘all-FANatics-on-deck, in-store moment,” she says. As a result, Republic Bank processed approximately $680 million in loans, keeping more than 5,000 small businesses solvent.

“It was really an incredible experience to witness our FANatics’ sense of responsibility to the cause,” says Hammel. “Seeing their commitment to helping others and how they invested their time and effort to make a difference was just inspirational.”

Republic also encourages its FANatics to get involved in the communities where its stores are located and give of their time, whether it’s joining local rotaries, the local chambers of commerce or other organizations. “If the town has a parade, we want to be part of it. If there’s a community events day, we want to make sure we’re there,” she says. “We want our FANatics to be fully engaged with the fans who support what we do every day. We couldn’t be in business without them.”

Beyond FANfare

Other aspects of the company’s large reward and recognition program include events such as “FANatics of the Quarter,” in which employees are selected to attend a breakfast with executive leadership and receive awards presented by their managers.

Then there’s the annual FAN Rally, a lively gathering for all employees that includes leadership speeches, team-building activities and the announcement of 4 annual awards – FANatic of the Year, FANtastic in Sales, FANtastic in Service and FANtastic in Support. Winners are provided with a monetary reward, extra PTO days and a commemorative trophy. With appreciation of its employees at the forefront of Republic Bank culture, it’s no surprise that so many FANatics start in entry-level positions at the bank and build their entire careers there.

And you don’t have to have a huge celebration in your honor to be recognized. Articles and photos of everyday accomplishments are posted in the FANatic Forum section of Republic Bank’s intranet portal called R-Space. There, FANatics can submit thoughts, suggestions or feedback on anything they feel might improve the bank for customers and employees.

Overall, the Bank’s commitment to emphasizing the POWER principles and incentivizing Doing the Red Thing has been impactful on so many levels, says Hammel. It builds customer loyalty, and FANatics always feel empowered to go the extra mile.

“Our FANatics step up when needed, working  extra hours, going to another store location to help where help is needed, making our mark in the community,” says Hammel. “At Republic Bank, we regularly witness our employees accomplishing the extraordinary.”