Bank Branch Design and Build
The MBA recently surveyed its associate members in the bank branch design and build business and asked the following question:
What are the major trends and recent innovations in bank branch design and building, and what can we expect in the future?
Bryan D. Poisson, president, Approach Architects Inc.
The major trend is the dramatic shift from a “service” oriented culture to a banking environment that is now “sales” oriented. This shift transforms the design of a traditional bricks and mortar bank branch from teller row, CSR area and safe deposit to an active retail environment that includes 24-hour mortgage offices, investment centers, online banking terminals, toddler areas and even Internet cafes. Successful retail bank design integrates the banks’ product lines, marketing and sales promotions, merchandising and technology, and provides convenience, making a positive impression. We see two future trends developing in the banking industry: The evolution of the “retail” bank as a destination extending the reach of services by partnering with other compatible retailers such as coffee houses and bookstores, and the movement toward sustainable architecture and “green” building.
Peter Govoni, senior account director, BrandPartners Inc.
Financial institutions are becoming more sophisticated in how they attract and retain customers and have come to realize that some of that attraction and much of the retention takes place in the branch. How financial institutions express their brand – what they communicate and how they communicate through their branch environmental expression, POS media, and in-branch merchandising – is critical to their success. Branches historically have been “transaction processing” channels. Today, branches tend to be smaller, but more inviting. Financial institutions realize they have to be “sales centers,” making it easier for customers to select financial products that meet their needs.
Andrea Simler-DeGolier, retail merchandising coordinator, DEI Inc.
Generally, we’ve seen major trends in four categories. Integrating technology: Current designs feature video merchandising on flat screen plasmas that capture the customer’s attention while promoting the special promotions, products and services. Brand strategy and image: Clients are embracing the power of defining a brand strategy and keeping a consistent brand image as well as developing a culture that grows their brand for the future. Facility design that defines brand: The understanding behind a solid brand design is becoming predominant. Interactive/dialogue banking: Specific teller configurations and shared cash machines encourage interaction and cross-selling for a design that promotes one-on-one personal service as well as an efficient use of time.
Douglas R. Watts, president and CEO, Financial Concepts Inc.
Once optional, in-branch product merchandising is now considered a standard as visual systems of communication help define the selling environment. More contemporary, brighter colors, functional furniture design and feature lighting help augment the “shopping feeling” available in the typical mall, retail environment. Looking forward, the design and feel of the branch will encourage customer interaction with a highly visible banking staff. We anticipate an increased requirement in private office space or selling areas for the more confidential and complex product discussions. With the commonplace transactional capabilities remaining, the future branch-selling environment will take on a much more retail store-ish look and feel. As banks commit to maximizing sales and cross-sales opportunities, merchandising and branding will drive the design of the branch.
Charles A. Snell, CEO, New England Design Assoc.
Over the past 30 years we have been asked countless times to describe the bank of the future. We are pleased to announce the future is now and the retail branch is indeed in transition. Today a retail branch bank (typically 2,000 - 5,000 square feet) incorporates strong merchandising and promotional opportunities. The customer and the CSR interact upon entering the branch. The customer experiences large promotional images, and the waiting and tellers’ areas have state-of-the-art flat screen, high resolution point-of-sales TV/software systems to inform as well as deliver late-breaking news. Web cafes and cash- counting cash dispensers are quite common in new branches today. The drive-up/ATM represents over 50 percent of a branch’s transactions and are “Point-of-Sell” avenues of opportunity.