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4 min read

4-Step Banker’s Guide to Financial Building Design

4-Step Banker’s Guide to Financial Building Design

Get started with design ideas and transform your bank or credit union branches into client-friendly, modern spaces that promote business and elevate ROI.

Retail banking, like many service industries, has gone through dramatic transitions in the past few years. From full branch closures and drive-thru-only hours during the height of the pandemic to the re-structuring of staff and re-organizing of operations as business resumed … it seems the banking world has run the gamut.

As you reflect on what’s evolved, do you feel like your bank or credit union needs to rethink its strategies in terms of building design and customer service? Yes? The reality is you’re not alone: in a 2021 survey conducted by the research firm Crowe, 63% of financial institutions surveyed indicated that they are looking to redesign their branch locations and layouts due to changing consumer behaviors. And despite rumors you might be hearing, physical banking is not going extinct—it’s just changing.

At DBSI, we’re in the business of transforming the experience of banks and credit unions every day. It’s what we do best. In fact, we give you access to over 100 experts in architecture, engineering, banking technology, marketing, and beyond who all specialize in the financial industry, With thousands of transformation projects under our belts, we can provide you expert guidance on your bank architecture or credit union architecture and help you develop design ideas, without stretching your timelines or breaking your budget—even in this crazy market!

Ready to get started with a new financial building design? Take a look at this easy, 4-step guide to learn how!

  1. Evaluate Your Clients and Your Current Service Structure

If your banking locations haven’t changed for 20 to 30 years, it may be time to take an overview of your headquarters and your physical branches, what your service capacities are, and how well you are serving your clients. There are a number of ways to collect this data:

  • Conduct a client satisfaction survey. Whether you hire an agency or you have in-house staff to develop and administer your survey, make sure you are asking questions that provide you the data you need to evaluate goals and develop objectives.
  • Complete a Branch Report Card. Download this document, rate your branch across ten categories, and total the rating numbers to find your score. Your grade is going to tell you a lot about how progressive you are with your financial building design.
  • Meet with DBSI and take a Discovery Survey. We will research your institution by conducting interviews, administering questionnaires, and performing on-site scoping and walk-throughs.
  1. Get Up to Speed on the Latest Retail Banking Trends

The days of standing in long teller lines and waiting in the lobby for a personal banker are coming to an end. Today’s bank and credit union clients want a better customer experience. They are no longer coming to your branch locations to get cash or to deposit checks (because they can do that online). They are coming to apply for loans, resolve account problems, and learn about new services and offerings. They might just be coming in for a cup of coffee too!

Think about it, then: How can your bank design architecture or credit union design architecture reflect the changing needs of your clients? Here are just a few design elements that DBSI uses to transform banks and credit unions into modern, interactive business centers:

Teller Towers. These multifunctional workspaces eliminate traditional teller lines and bring your Universal Associates or Tellers right out amongst clients coming in for services. When quipped with cash recyclers and automation tools such as RTA or Nomadix, Teller Towers are a one-stop-shop for all your clients’ basic banking needs.

Digital Signage. From video walls and tablets to interactive kiosks and community boards, Digital Signage can help you communicate a consistent message across your branches and corporate locations. With a library of over 85 apps designed exclusively for financial institutions, with Digital Signage, you get to choose ones that fit your branding and your marketing initiatives.

Service Spots. Designed to be flexible workspace options, Service Spots allow your associates to move easily to any branch station, engage clients, and hold advisory-based conversations in comfortable semi-private spaces.

For more information about the breadth of products and services, DBSI can offer as you design your bank or credit union architecture, click here.

  1. Define Your Purpose, Budget, and Timeline

Once you learn about your clients’ needs through surveys and in-house discovery sessions, you will need to decide how you want to update the physical features of your financial institution’s locations. Besides the redesign, your formula might include new branch or microbranch construction, closing locations with poor ROI, or doing some corporate rebranding.

If you decide to build or remodel, you can already guess that your timeline and budget will be contingent on your design choices. To help you visualize your ideas, DBSI offers a unique experience through our Ideation Center, a one-of-a-kind interactive experience where you get to see functional models of the latest banking technology, ideas, trends, and designs you can use for your own headquarters and branches! It’s free to visit, it’s fun, and it can help you jumpstart your bank or credit union transformation.

  1. Choose Your Delivery Method

According to the Construction Industry Institute (CII), there are two accepted delivery methods for design and construction:

Design-Bid-Build (DBB). This is the most traditional U.S. construction industry process. With it, you hire separate designers and contractors. The designer delivers you the design documents and then you expedite contractors. Your institution takes on all the risks related to the design documents.

Design-Build (DB). With this process, you hire one contractor to complete all your work (such as DBSI), and it usually includes all design, millwork, engineering, municipal permit submittals, selection of subcontractors, coordination of vendors, and on-site project supervision. If you choose this process, note that DBSI can still add your preferred local contractors to the bidding process without you having to take on the responsibility and the risk. 

These four steps might seem like a lot, but when you hire an expert design-build firm like DBSI, you can get the help you need every step of the way. We’ve been transforming financial institutions for over two decades—and we can’t wait to get started with yours!

Contact DBSI to get started with your no-obligation consultation today.