Best Practices in Branch Network Optimization

In The Financial Brand, contributing author Sean Keathley shares real-world examples of branch optimization and budgetary spend

Friday, July 11, 2019 – Most financial institutions are aware they need change at the branch level, but tend to focus on the overwhelming prospect of a complete overhaul. In “Decision Time for Banks and Credit Unions: Optimize or Close Branches?” Adrenaline’s president & CEO Sean Keathley describes the “building blocks of change” where financial institutions look at the array of requirements across their networks and prioritize what each branch needs.  He says, “Transformation is really blue-sky thinking – focusing on what could be in the future rather than what should be in the next few months.” 

Let’s face it, change is hard. While most institutions understand they need change, they’re not sure where to begin. Sean believes that “Whether it’s because of acquisition or atrophy, the number of branches in a network in need of an update could intimidate the hardiest of banking brands. Realistically, what’s needed is progress — through a transitional, tiered approach.” From Refresh to Transform, understanding what elements can do across the branch network is a vital consideration. 

Sean says, “As institutions consider the practical realities of network optimization, lower budgets result in a focus on visual features like exterior signage and interior design. In transitional spaces, the budget incorporates visual upgrades while functionality is assessed and augmented. With transformation, spaces are completely overhauled, deploying new zones of experience and incorporating operational efficiencies.” While many people talk about change, Sean’s approach actually displays best practice examples and describes what people can expect. 

Pedestal Bank

This bank’s refreshed space incorporates modernized color palettes and finishes for a contemporary composition.

Optimizing and Transforming Your Branch Network Part 3
Optimizing and Transforming Your Branch Network Part 3

Citizens National Bank

This transitional space utilizes the identical footprint, but achieves so much more in terms of how the space operates. This transition introduces new zones of experience and repurposes areas that have little value moving forward. Citizens National Bank has since rebranded to VeraBank.

Optimizing and Transforming Your Branch Network Part 3
Optimizing and Transforming Your Branch Network Part 3

Origin Bank

This transformational space shifts not only how the space looks and feels, but fundamentally, how it functions. This fresh space introduces entirely new zones of experience, removing areas that don’t function well and looking at operational efficiencies within.

Optimizing and Transforming Your Branch Network Part 3
Optimizing and Transforming Your Branch Network Part 3

In closing, Sean notes that “While the physical channel of experience is surely the most difficult for bank brands to optimize, it’s still the best place for fostering the consultative experience that banking is known for.” The physical channel of experience is still one of your most important, as many customers are still acquired at the branch level and that’s where most consultative experiences still take place. He says, “It’s also important to note the value of strategically leveraging physical presence in a geographic area as a branding beacon. Consumers still venture into the real world.” 

For a practical guide for network change, Adrenaline is publishing an upcoming white paper on branch optimization and transformation. To learn more about our branch experience services or request a copy of the white paper, contact us at

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