Changing It Up: The Transformation of the Brick-and-Mortar Branch
Most in the industry have been operating under the assumption that virtual interactions and digital transactions would eventually replace walk-in branch traffic – and the brick-and-mortar branch. However, the next chapter in the story of banking may instead be how technology can transform the branch into an experience environment that differentiates one financial institution from the next.
Certain trends are already becoming apparent. As fewer transactions occur in branches, the focus is shifting to advice, loans and small business services. Self-service technology is becoming more prevalent, which frees branch staff to spend more time with customers. Branches are now more tightly integrated with other delivery channels – Internet, mobile, tablet and call centers – giving customers channel choice, consistent quality and an outstanding experience.
Tomorrow at Forum, Broadway Bank, Conestoga Bank and NB&T will share how they've transformed their branches to be more engaging, experiential and relevant.
Broadway Bank Overcomes Security Concerns
At San Antonio-based Broadway Bank, teller lines and new accounts desks have been replaced with cash bars and iPad® stations, and self-service coin machines give customers the option to handle more transactions on their own. Cross-trained universal bankers have the flexibility to move throughout the lobby and go from one transaction to another fairly seamlessly.
Rene Alfaro, SVP of Personal Banking Operations for Broadway Bank, says getting the bank's audit and compliance teams involved early was key to overcoming any security concerns they had with the open teller line concept. Alfaro also suggests evaluating staffing models before beginning a branch transformation, rather than in tandem as Broadway Bank did. Utilizing universal bankers from day one would have improved employee buy-in to the new branch concept and maximized use of the open floor plan model, according to Alfaro.
Lessons Learned at Conestoga Bank
Conestoga Bank also eliminated the teller counter in their new Bankwerx branch, opting instead for personal teller machines and branch hosts focused on sales and service. The Bankwerx branch also features a Werx Bar equipped for online account opening and loan applications. The goal of the redesign is to increase efficiencies in the branch system and attract a younger demographic, although the changes have been well received by customers of all ages.
The branch is 1,600 square feet, but Conestoga Bank expects future branches to be more focused on functionality, with scaled-back lounge areas to accommodate a smaller footprint of about 1,200 square feet. "What we've learned with the Bankwerx branch has become a model for every future location," said Lori Adamski, EVP and COO of Conestoga Bank.
NB&T Leverages Experience
As the focal point of its recently renovated branch, NB&T in Sycamore, Illinois, installed two teller pods equipped with a cash recycler to automate cash handling. The non-traditional layout enables employees to step out from behind a counter and encourages more interaction with customers.
NB&T began its redesign by visiting financial institutions that were using innovative design elements. "Talking with our peers helped us leverage their experience, identify the changes we wanted to integrate into our culture and ultimately, envision NB&T's branch of the future," said Bradley Brown, SVP of Consumer Banking for NB&T. "As with every financial institution, our branch transformation is an ongoing journey that will continue to evolve."
To learn more about how Broadway Bank, Conestoga Bank and NB&T are transforming their branches, attend Wednesday's Forum session, Branch Transformation: A Client Panel at 3:30 p.m.