Susan Meier
Senior Vice President and Human Resources Manager
  • Total Plan Assets
  • Number of Participants
  • Participation Rate
  • Average Deferral Rate
  • Default Deferral Rate
  • Default Investment
    Principal LifeTime Separate Account funds
  • Automatic Enrollment
  • Automatic Escalation
  • Employer Contribution
    100% on 3% deferrals and 50% match on deferrals from 3% to 5%; additional 2% discretionary contribution for those who meet eligibility criteria

According to its executive leaders
, Reliance Savings Bank strives to be a true and integral part of the Central Pennsylvania community, with its main offices in Altoona, and branches in Altoona, Duncansville, Martinsburg, State College and Tyrone.

Susan Meier, senior vice president and human resources (HR) manager, says Reliance Savings Bank and its talented employees are active in a host of civic, charitable, educational and economic development endeavors. The company strives to make a difference for its customers through “solutions, strength and service.”

Mirroring this commitment to its banking customers, Reliance has built a retirement plan that is generous to participants and encourages active participation by all eligible employees. By the numbers, 98% of participants are deferring at an average deferral rate of 7.5%, and more than 90% are either on track or approaching the level needed to replace 70% of their pre-retirement income.

Meier says the plan committee has a primary goal of ensuring that participants are fully engaged in the program and understand the strong value of the retirement benefit. Participants have access to one-on-one support and can participate in group seminars that promote overall financial wellness, Meier says. Participants also have access to evolving educational tools and services available through the plan’s recordkeeper, Principal.

Working in collaboration with Principal, the plan has achieved a participant website registration rate of over 90%. More than 30% of participants have utilized the retirement wellness planner available on the plan’s web portal to help with more advanced retirement planning and projections. 

According to adviser Craig Kilmer, president of the Allan Hancock Agency, a financial services firm supporting employee benefit plans, the Reliance retirement plan committee is structured to ensure decisions involve input from all levels of the organization. To this end, the committee includes a mix of executives, middle management and customer-facing employees.

“The [plan sponsor]encourages the committee members to discuss the plan directly with participants,” Kilmer says. “It makes sure we meet with all new hires to discuss the plan and provide financial investment allocation guidance to them when they are enrolling. We are available to meet with participants upon their request, to assist them with ad hoc questions regarding their 401(k) plan, investment options and financial planning.”

In the interest of maximizing plan outcomes, Reliance Savings Bank pays the full plan administration fees. The plan has a streamlined range of investment options, which cover all assetclass categories and style boxes, Kilmer says. The investment options also include target-date funds (TDFs) as the qualified default investment alternative (QDIA).

“While we have not implemented automatic deferral escalations, we actively promote increasing deferral percentages at least annually, at the time when employees receive salary increases,” Meier says. “We also encourage employees to enroll in the Step Ahead retirement option, which is an opt-in automatic-increase program. Employees using Step Ahead will see their deferral increased annually without them having to do anything to initiate the increase.”

Contributions are matched at 100% of salary deferrals up to 3%, with an additional 50% match on 3% to 5%. Besides the match, the bank aims to provide a discretionary contribution on 2% of pay for all employees once they meet the eligibility requirements.

“Our employee base faces the same challenges that most employees face, needing to balance their focus between saving money for the long-term and having available funds to live the lifestyle they prefer today,” Meier says. “We make it a priority to discuss with the employees the benefits of making contributions to receive the full match from the bank. The goal of our retirement plan is to have employees financially ready for retirement. The benchmarks we use to determine the success are the participation rate, the retirement wellness scores of the plan and the average deferral rates of the participants.”

John Manganaro

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