Expert Insight

Reconsidering the Branch: Retail Branch

Another type of branch that is being built by banks and credit unions around the country is the “retail” branch. These are akin to open retail stores, in that a person can walk around and interact with tellers in a more personal, open manner. The concept is that the customer or member enters into an atmosphere that does not have a barrier between them and the teller helping them. This is usually achieved with teller “pods” instead of a teller line. Members and tellers can then carry on transactions in a more friendly and conversational way.

Why do this? Banks and credit unions are finding that it is easier to work “with” someone without a physical barrier and it allows for greater cross-selling of products and opens communication to solve problems the customer may be having. Teller pods commonly hold cash recyclers that make teller transactions faster and more accurate. This equipment also provides a level of built-in security that is recommended for this more “open” branch model.

Retail branch models tend to also have large glass frontages which deter robberies. The security is inherent in the openness of the branch model. Branding is also highly prevalent in this type of branch, where everything from marketing collateral, signage, artwork, finishes and even furniture are used to enforce and strength the institution’s color palette. It results in a cohesive space that will always “feel” like that credit union or bank, no matter where the location is.

Branding is incredibly important to the new branch, because if your customers feel that they could be anywhere, there is no reason to be with you. This type of branch can lower staffing needs in each branch by allowing MSR’s to rotate between retail stations (office and pods) depending upon need on a per customer basis. If you would like to discuss renovating a retail type branch, contact Angela Cannon at Labarre Associates for more information about what we can offer you.

Next in this series: Pelican State Credit Union's Retail Branch in Pineville

Previously in this Series: Reconsidering the Branch: Tellerless Branch and the Tellerless Branch Case Study