Top-Five Branch Banking Best Practices

A roundup of case study examples and considerations for branch network decision-making

First Horizon Bank Case Study

While communities across the country take more steps toward normalcy, banks and credit unions are reassessing the way they deliver essential services in our new normal.

A shift in consumer expectations for their primary financial relationships has provided financial institutions with a rich opportunity to optimize all of their channels for maximum connection. “As people have adapted to more digital methods of transacting, they’ve remained deeply connected to the physical experience of their financial institution at the same time – with most consumers still wanting to live within 15 minutes of a branch,” according to Believe in Banking.

Top-Five Branch Banking Best Practices Data

Source: Believe In Banking, April 23, 2021

“Banks and credit unions have the opportunity to redesign and reimagine the branch experience – including their networks and their formats – to better meet consumers where they are and deliver on their need for advisory relationships while continuing to improve efficiency and unlock opportunities for growth,” finds Believe in Banking. Reimagining the branch experience from the consumer’s eyes is banking’s new charge, a necessity not lost on financial institutions like Chase, Bank of America, BBVA, and Fifth Third as they open new branches, even as some of their peers shutter their own. 

In Branch Banking Users Data

Source: Business Insider Intelligence, March 2021

Despite all the forecasting of its demise, the branch is still a crucial channel for connection and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Even as late as 2025, more than 61% of consumers expect to maintain their local branch use. With such high branch penetration and consumer usage, what are banks and credit unions doing to meet the moment? They’re embracing a transformational mindset about the delivery of their services at the branch. Understanding that banking has grown beyond its transactional roots, branches are becoming consultation centers, where experiences deepen relationships and provide more value to consumers’ financial lives. 

To help shine a light on in-branch banking best practices, we’ve rounded up some compelling case study examples from forward-thinking financial institutions ready to take on the challenge of reimagining the branch. 

1. Craft Signature Spaces

Creating a warm welcome in a large lobby of a corporate office building is no easy task, but PlainsCapital’s North Dallas branch prototype answers the call with an inspired mix of imagination and intuition for an innovative bank branch design. “With this recent upgrade, the fourth largest Texas-headquartered bank used expansive glass windows, an inimitable approach to the color palette and impactful, artful focal walls, and an intuitive footprint from the outside-in… to make the most of the bank’s personalized relationship banking style,” according to a recent success story. Fostering more modern banking engagements, space also features more technology and fewer but more mobile staff, freed from their teller lines. 

PlainsCapital Bank Interior

2. Create Connection Hubs

With First Horizon’s Florida flagship, the bank was redefining the types of engagements taking place inside the branch, spotlighting more casual, collaborative conversations. “The in-person experience becomes a magnet for making new connections and gathering and guidance, bringing people together to listen, teach, recommend, and celebrate with powerful financial tools at the ready,” according to the recent case study. Needing flexibility for the varying functions of the branch, space was designed to be scalable and reconfigurable, accommodating one-on-one consultations all the way through to larger groups and events. The branch now serves as a community connection hub in Miami. 

First Horizon Bank Interior

3. Activate Smart Data

With Valley Strong’s brand to branch rebrand, the California-based credit union had a powerful platform to create deeper connections with customers, especially as they expanded to new areas. Strengthening already solid member relationships, the credit union outfitted branches with multiple tiers of data-gathering. “Geo-fences pull together demographic data tied to mobile devices and a traffic monitoring system tells the credit union where members are and what they’re doing,” according to the case study. “Virtual tracking beacons married to branch data to support product utilization.” Using analytics for marketing at branch level is a rising best practice for financial services and one that’s delivering results for this regional CU brand.

Valley Strong Credit Union Exterior

4. Evolve Delivery of Experiences

With United Bank’s Georgetown branch, the relationship-banking brand sought out Adrenaline’s successful turnkey design-build capabilities to augment their presence in Washington, DC metro and evolve the delivery of their banking services. To meet the demands of their rising North Star clientele, the bank was moving toward a more retail-oriented financial services brand, and the branch on a highly trafficked street in Georgetown was the perfect physical manifestation of that shift. “Serving an influential audience, United Bank saw their new Georgetown branch as a place to present a polished sophistication…” according to the case study. “With strategic growth at the forefront, the branch gave United Bank the opportunity to increase their brand equity in a key competitive market.” 

United Bank Georgetown Exterior

5. Reflect Local Flavor

When Cooperative Teachers Credit Union (CTCU) decided to expand their footprint through a satellite branch, they knew “CTCU at the Cannery wouldn’t be a typical bank branch design, but a thriving destination experience instead,” according to a banking best practices snapshot. A new entertainment hub in East Texas, The Cannery is populated with restaurants, retail and residential right in the center of a buzzing and bustling community. To capture the energy and local character there, CTCU created a branch that welcomes the community inside with a lively blend of programming and functionality that serves as a “gathering spot for people in an environment with a cool cannery vibe.”

CTCU Interior

For financial institutions needing bank branch design consultation and expertise for branch transformation or to speak to one of our financial services and banking industry experts, contact us at Interested in the latest banking news – from the brand to the branch? Visit Believe in Banking, our mission-oriented platform that features insights, conversations, and expertise to empower the financial industry.

Adrenaline is an experience design agency that creates and implements end-to-end branded experiences through creative and environmental design. We enhance our clients’ customer experiences across digital and physical channels, from their branding and advertising to design and technology in their spaces. After transforming an organization’s brand, Adrenaline extends it across all touchpoints — from employees to the market to in-store environments. And, we focus on serving industries that sell human experiences including financial, healthcare, sports and entertainment.

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