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Community Banks Define Success Through Design

Do you see a trend in community bank redesign? If so, how has it affected your business and if not, why do you think this is the case?

"The trend is more branches with fewer full time employees [and] more ATMs, fewer hours for employees and more specialized lenders visiting branches. Numerous studies have shown people open their accounts close to their work or home. If you're both places, you are the one. If you are one or the other, it is a coin toss. There are no unique services in banking and most banks stick to banking."

What has your branch done to encourage customers to visit: cafes with coffee and gourmet foods, children's areas or Internet cafes etc.

"Our existing branches and the new branches we are building are being designed/redesigned to give more of a "retail store" environment: Internet cafes, coffee bars with our bank-branded coffees, large plasma displays on the walls, brighter lighting and an overall more open and friendly, less-stuffy environment."

How has a redesign affected your business? Do you have plans for future projects?

"We are having our grand opening of our newest branch on Monday. One of the things we're most proud of is the addition of an area we allow community groups to use for meetings after hours. It has been very well received by the community. The addition of community areas is a change for the bank, but one we think we'll continue with."

Do you see a trend in community bank redesign?If so, how has it affected your business and if not, why do you think this is the case?

While the trend of redesign had early roots among the big banks, for two of these community bank professionals, a branch's design adds to the driving force behind what makes their bank successful. For them, success is based on providing a friendly, comfortable environment where they and their customers shape the futures of their families and neighbors.

First published on 02/28/2005

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