Banks with unique non-branch locations — do they work?

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Non-Branch Bank Locations

Unique community banking examples (outside the normal brick and mortar branch offerings) include a Green Bay Packers experiential branch with Associated Bank in Wisconsin, a co-working environment at Citizens Bank of Edmond in Oklahoma, and Beneficial Bank in Philadelphia transforming some of its branches into community centers. Locating community bank-specific examples of unique non-branch offerings did prove to be challenging likely due in part to the fact that though ‘18% of bank customers said they use branches most often’ about ‘two-thirds said they primarily bank online and with mobile devices’. Additionally, finding non-traditional examples within community banking is also hampered by the fact that in many cases, according to Premier Insights, ‘community banks are an integral part of the fiber of rural communities, and many have branches in small markets where many non-community banks do not and although possibly not a significantly contributing factor, community banks in rural markets may perceive greater reputational risk of closing a branch where there are only a handful of locations as opposed to urban areas where there are a substantial number of both banks and branches’. The following research report will outline the non-traditional examples found as well as provide additional findings regarding things that big banks around the United States, and the globe, are either currently implementing or are developing.

Branch Bank Statistics

  • The banking industry has lost 7,487 branches (7.7%) in the last five years.
  • Community banks were the only banks that had an increase in the number of branches in 2017.
  • Almost half of all consumers increased their mobile banking activity in the last year.
  • 91% of mobile banking users prefer using their app over going to a physical branch.
  • 34% of consumers prefer to interact with their bank branch, with 56% preferring to interact via technology.
  • Even though consumers prefer mobile banking, they still want their physical branch bank, with 80% visiting the branch over a six-month period.
  • The FDIC states that only 5.4% of all banks are supermarket/in-store branches.
  • Consumers have a stronger emotional connection to brands they love like Google and Apple, rather than their bank.
    • It is believed that retailers like Apple have such success because they can blend their digital and physical worlds.
    • Banks are hiring retail store design teams to reconfigure and re-brand their branches.
  • 31-36% of consumers say if there were more technology experiences available like digital self-service screens, virtual meeting or cafes with employee assistance, they would use their branch more often.

Associated Bank

  • Associated Bank is using its relationship with the Green Bay Packers to promote a new banking experience.
  • Their branch will have experiences that are unique to the Green Bay Packers like discovering the history of the team in an interactive way.
  • As they go through interactive stations their experience is collected in an online gallery they can access and share on social media.
  • While doing this, the bank strives to make the banking experience simple and easy.
  • The customers will have the opportunity to explore benefits available to them as Packers banking customers.

Citizens bank of Edmond

  • Citizens Bank of Edmond consolidated two of their branches into one.
  • It is called a "business social co-working" environment called Vault 405.
  • They provide wireless charging stations, a podcast studio and conference rooms.
  • The co working sector claims 29.4% of office spaces in the US.
  • This offering enables the bank to connect to possible customers.

Beneficial Bank — Philadelphia

Capital One

  • Capital One has opened cafe branches.
  • Customers can connect with "cafe-coaches".
  • They can chat with customer service representatives over coffee.
  • They can also just hang out with friends at the cafe.
  • Food is offered.
  • Free WiFi is available.
  • Meeting spaces are available for small business owners to use.

Other Non- Traditional Offerings

  • In Singapore, DBS Bank incorporated human-centered design, to make visits simpler and reduced wait times by 10%.
  • HSBC has introduced a robot named Pepper to make their banking experience more appealing.
  • Regions Bank in Alabama has a new prototype branch that resembles an Apple Store.
    • There are no teller lines, but instead they have teller pods where you can get help with anything.
    • They offer cash recyclers to handle cash transactions.
    • There is much open space with music playing.
  • The Idea Bank in Poland has developed an "Idea Hub Express", which is a bank on tracks for train passengers and offers co-working spaces.
    • This has resulted in a significant increase in visitors to the hub and exposure for the bank.
  • Umpqua Bank in Portland offers free Wi0Fi, meeting rooms, coffee, snacks and yoga classes is spaces that have an open-concept, open-working feel to attract more customers.
    • They also have universal associates that can assist with a wide variety of banking needs instead of traditional tellers.
    • If these associates can not address a problem, there is access to a phone that takes them straight to the CEO.

    Interesting Banking Trends


  • "According to a 2018 Citibank survey , almost half of consumers – including nearly two-thirds of millennials —have increased their mobile banking usage in the last year."
  • "When users get comfortable with the technology, they love the convenience of the mobile experience and the range of available services. "
  • "Mobile banking usage is skyrocketing as more consumers experience the benefits of greater convenience, speed and financial insights driven by new app features and upgrades,” said Alice Milligan, Chief Digital Client Experience Officer, U.S. Consumer Bank, Citi. “Over the past year we’ve witnessed this increase in engagement first-hand, with mobile usage in North America increasing by almost 25 percent, and we don’t see this trend slowing down any time soon.”"
  • "As consumers increasingly adopt the technology, they are rethinking more traditional banking tools, so much so that 91 percent of mobile banking users prefer using their app over going to a physical branch, and 68 percent of millennials who mobile bank see their smartphones replacing their physical wallets."
  • "Banks want to ensure customers see them as a premier brand and have a high-touch experience with trusted professional staff. To that end, we see banks hiring retail store design teams to re-configure the layouts, branding, and "
  • "To that end, we see banks hiring retail store design teams to re-configure the layouts, branding, and branch working flows. For example, in Singapore, DBS incorporated human-centered design (HCD) into its flagship branch at Marina Bay Financial Center and overhauled the traditional retail banking experience. “The intent was to optimize customers’ time and to make the branch visit simple and delightful. These kinds of transformations have reduced customer wait time in branches by more than 10 percent.”"
  • "We have now reached the point — long anticipated — where slightly more than half of clients (56%) say they prefer interacting with their financial institution via laptop or desktop computer, smartphone, tablet, or wearable."
  • "All told, only 34% of consumers prefer interacting with humans in a traditional branch. Put another way, nearly twice as many consumers prefer remote banking as opposed to branch banking — and the vast majority of those prefer digital channels. "
  • "Despite these strong preference for remote banking, buildings still matter. More than half of respondents reported visiting a physical branch in the month prior to the survey. Over a six-month period, that figure jumps to 80%."
  • "In its last update on branches (June 30, 2017), the FDIC reported that there were 4,684 supermarket/in-store) branches, representing 5.4% of all retail bank branches."
  • "According to FDIC reports, the average supermarket bank branch today holds $21.5 million in deposits. That’s just 27% of the traditional branch average nationwide."
  • "Add together the high lease rates and the long operating hours, and expenses end up running about 65-75% of traditional branches."
  • "In-store branches average $21 million in deposits, but the average is misleading. Digging deeper, 43% hold less than $10 million, and 72% less than $25 million."
  • "Banking consumers have a stronger emotional connection to technology brands like Apple, Amazon, and Google than to their banks"
  • "Some of these companies’ ability to blend experiences from the physical and digital worlds is considered a good model for banks."
  • "Banks are deploying a mix of strategies to stay ahead in the game, including higher technology spending on channel improvement—branches, ATMs, call centers, and digital banking. JPMorgan Chase (JPMC) has adopted “mobile first, digital everything,” while Santander has four investments in the online lending space alone."
  • "Banks are expected to become more active in the fintech space, either by launching stand-alone digital banks or through partnerships. "
  • "The need to create a seamless omnichannel experience to improve customer experience (CX) has been around for some time. "
  • "Likelihood to increase branch use if the following services are offered: Extended service hours through virtual remote services with a representative (36%), Digital screen self service with representative help if needed (34%), Ability to schedule a personal appointment for a virtual video meeting with a representative (31%), Branch that resembles a cafe where you can plug in, hang out and work (31%)."
  • "HSBC, for instance, introduced a robot—Pepper—in its flagship Fifth Avenue branch in Manhattan. The idea behind having a robot in the branch was never about replacing bank tellers; rather, it was designed to make the banking experience more appealing.15 Pepper is programmed to answer customers’ basic questions and direct them to the right adviser/personnel in the branch."
  • "ING Bank in the Netherlands, for example, allows customers to schedule appointments with the bank representatives at the branch via their online banking portal.17"
  • "To lure millennials, Capital One opened new café branches with cafés that are a far cry from traditional branches.18 In the Capital One cafés, customers can connect with “café coaches,” onsite bank representatives who are available to chat over a cup of coffee about different banking products, or they can choose to just hangout with friends and enjoy the café’s food and free Wi-Fi."
  • "The industry had a net loss of 7,484 total branches just in the last five years. This is a change of 7.7% and obviously significant."
  • "First, the decline of banking locations has been the greatest at non-community banks as community banks reflected a smaller change in the number of locations. In fact, community banks actually had an increase in the number of branches in 2017. Community banks are an integral part of the fiber of rural communities, and many have branches in small markets where many non-community banks do not."
  • "A new Associated Bank flagship branch featuring experiences blending the bank’s superior product offerings and its deep-rooted relationship with the Green Bay Packers is coming to Titletown, the 45-acre mixed-use development just west of Lambeau Field."
  • "The new branch will feature one-of-a-kind experiences that will engage and entertain Packers fans like never before. Fans will be led through a series of stations, each building on the previous. The path from Packers fan to team legend is personalized just for them."
  • "This self-guided interactive journey will create a customized avatar that transforms fans into part of the team and further leads them through various interactive stations including Train Like a Champion, Go Green and Cold and Suit Up. "
  • "Each fan’s experience from start to finish will be collected and live in an online gallery accessible by email, making it easy to share on social media."
  • "Packers fans will see how Associated makes the banking experience simple and easy, while having a little fun at the same time. New customers can also explore the benefits offered to Packers checking and debit customers.”"
  • "Idea Bank (Poland) which focuses on entrepreneurs’ segment, won the Phygital Distribution category with “Idea Hub Express,” the first bank branch on tracks. It is a co-working space that allows train passengers, often traveling on business trips, to make better use of their time while in transit, while also benefitting from Idea Bank services."
  • "Idea Hub Express train cars, adopted for office work, feature tables, comfortable chairs and a screen for presentations. Travelers can also use the available office equipment (printers and scanners), phone chargers, Wifi connections, as well as coffee makers, and read a selection of newspapers delivered every day. Cars are open to all passengers holding a valid ticket, but Idea Bank customers have priority in taking the available seats."
  • "The primary impact of this innovation has been on the overall Idea Bank brand, resulting in significant increases in visitors to the physical Idea Hubs. It has also served to position Idea Bank as the best banking solution for small businesses and entrepreneurs who need help starting their businesses."
  • "As megabanks work on improving business banking by enabling things like digital onboarding and Zelle for business customers, small banks are turning branches into coworking spaces"
  • "In the meantime, smaller banks are working with bank vendors like FIS and Diebold Nixdorf to remain competitive on the technology front, but they’re also trying to inject some energy into their branch experiences, maintaining that in smaller communities, in-person relationships are still key. A survey of small-business owners who bank with a community bank say they’re innovative, while 35 percent of small-business owners that bank with a megabank said the same, according to an Aite Group survey."
  • "Beneficial Bank in Philadelphia is focusing on in-person consultations with commercial and consumer customers. Its CEO, Gerry Cuddy, even makes house calls. The bank has been running community centers as branches it calls campuses. It has bookshelves stocked with financial literacy resources, customers can use the space for work and community groups can reserve meeting rooms. "
  • "Citizens has created open space in a Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts branch that business customers can use to conduct one-on-one meetings with bankers or with their own customers and business partners. “We want to reduce the overall square footage in the branches and we want to take what was space dedicated to transactions and the remaining space should have more private rooms for conversation,” said CEO Bruce Van Saun. "
  • "Recently, Citizens in Edmond, Oklahoma decided to consolidate one of its two branches into a single location that it’s now turned it into a “business social” co-working environment for its small-business customers, called Vault 405, which includes wireless charging stations, conference rooms and a podcast studio."
  • "Portland-based Umpqua Bank is embracing its decidedly West Coast roots, with branches that offer yoga classes, Wi-Fi, meeting rooms, coffee and snacks. The approach is part of the bank’s strategy to attract more customers by shaking up what it means to head to a bank."
  • "Umpqua Bank branches, which number over 300 in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and California, resemble open-concept co-working spaces more typical of startup culture. The design structures of the branches are meant to stimulate interaction. For example, when the bank’s South Lake Union branch opened three years ago, the outside of the building hosted an interactive “conversation wall” where passersby would text their thoughts, some of which would appear as installation art. "
  • "Instead of tellers, the bank has a smaller number of “universal associates” — employees who can help customers with a range of inquiries, without having triage requests that has often been the norm in larger banks. And if there’s any matter they can’t address, customers can use a phone that takes them right to the CEO "
  • "Capital One has created cafe-branches in partnership with Peet’s Coffee, banks should get creative about other ways to utilize the branch space beyond the transactions and the banker-to-customer meetings. Providing meeting space for small business owners that might run their company out of their homes and not want to conduct face-to-face meetings there could be one way of doing that."
  • "Some branches have opted to add coffee shops in their spaces, while others are creating coworking spaces for smaller businesses."
  • "The coworking sector has seen a huge increase in demand over the past few years. In 2017, expansion in the sector represented 29.4% of total office absorption in the U.S."
  • "Bank branch coworking spaces also give banks a better chance of attracting highly desirable clients, according to Christopher S. Rollyson and Associates."
  • "Bank branch coworking spaces offer a hub for small businesses to connect and be customers of each other."
  • "Birmingham, Alabama-based Regions Financial wants customers to think Apple Store when they walk into its newer prototype branches at 6200 Poplar in East Memphis, 88 Union Downtown, 9850 U.S. 64 in Lakeland and 1284 S. Germantown Road in Germantown. The new Lakeland branch opened in April."
  • "“One of our first pilot branches looks and feels like an Apple store. You can’t find a teller line. Whoever you talk with can help you with whatever you need, from opening a checking account to a 529 (educational savings account).”"
  • "There’s more open space, music is playing, and teller windows has been replaced by teller pods. Between the pods are cash recyclers where cash transactions can be handled."