#FounderFeature with Donald Hawkins | Building Modern Relationships for Community Banks

Posted on February 7, 2020
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By Donald Hawkins
Founder +CEO, Griffin Technologies

As a kid growing up in Southern Georgia, I knew who my bankers were.They were the people who went to church with us, who supported our local baseball teams, and who knew how to help us through things like buying a car or a home. I remember what it felt like have a local banker, and the feeling was that someone always had my back. 

That personal relationship was a powerful thing in my life. I learned from my parents how the community banks stepped up to help local families when our town was flooded in 1994 and now I have a renewed and deeper appreciation for the work they do.

As I began my entrepreneurial journey, I found that examining geo-location data was beneficial for relationship building and developed a tool to help small businesses do just that. As fate would have it, we met a bank and learned the financial industry was full of opportunities relevant to building and strengthening relationships with their customers. And by providing our solution to local banks, we would simultaneously be able to increase our impact with their communities.

Before the technological revolution, most of us had relationships with banks, and that was a time when bankers knew what their customers needed, and when they needed it. Since then, technology has moved at an incredibly rapid pace. Today, banks are challenged to leverage technology in innovative ways so they can continue to know their customers better.

That’s where we come in. Griffin Technologies connects banks to their customers in the moments that matter. Through our tool, we provide banks real-time, actionable insights along with the opportunity to be a first-mover when their customers show intent to make a purchase. While there are plenty of digital analytics tools out there, we realized that banks were missing out on a massive data set – location.

Where people go in person is just as important, if not more important, than where they click online. When customers visit location, they’ve put in effort to get there. At Griffin Technologies, we find the location visit a more substantial behavior than an internet click because it is so much more intentional. 

But more importantly, it’s a brand-new data set for the banks who are utilizing our technology. We’ve built a tool that is a very light lift to implement, and for our current customers, we’ve been able to save them 18% percent on their acquisition cost. We also help banks genuinely understand who their customers are, which can be difficult when so many consumers use credit cards with reward points for the bulk of their purchases. With our tool and by providing location insights, we help give a clear picture of what their customers want outside of their transactions.

Our banking partners are extremely happy, and that’s because they are building better relationships with their customers. Working with community banks to help people in their local communities is a massive motivator for me. I also know that as a minority, and particularly a minority entrepreneur, representation is vital. As my company scales and grows, I know I’m helping usher in the next generation of entrepreneurs who look like me. I want all kids to know that entrepreneurship is a viable path for them and that it’s something they can do. 


And as the Griffin Technologies team works to bridge the gap between relationships and the new world of banking, we’re looking forward to what tomorrow’s entrepreneurs will come up with to carry those same community values forward.