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4 min read

The Emotional Rollercoaster of Branch Transformation

The Emotional Rollercoaster of Branch Transformation

Going through a branch transformation can really have its ups and downs. Like riding on a rollercoaster, the movement happening in and around your building is going to affect how everyone working at your financial institution (FI) feels about the experience.

The reality is … it’s completely normal to have mixed emotions about a construction project, no matter what everyone’s stake is in commissioning the endeavor. The key to alleviating issues is to always communicate the branch transformation schedule clearly and share construction updates as the project moves forward. These actions will eliminate unnecessary confusion and help everyone feel more involved and included.

As design-build veterans, DBSI has navigated almost every situation that affects a branch transformation or construction project. Having handled over 1,000 successful transformation projects over the years, we know how to avoid issues that can affect your staff’s confidence and run emotions high. To that end, our professional 6d® approach assures you that your FI will be supported in its venture from the idea stage all the way to operation.


Common Stressors with Branch Transformations


If you’ve been through a remodel or construction project before, you already know there are many pieces involved which can cause stress and even timeline delays. Some common setbacks to a branch transformation can include going over-budget, juggling delays, and mitigating poor-quality workmanship. 

Besides these factors, the delivery method chosen for a branch transformation project can play a major role in how much stress staff and stakeholders feel. 

  • With design-bid-build, your FI bears the responsibility for handling all contractors since you must choose the project’s designers and builders separately.
  • With design-build, the responsibility for handling all contractors shifts to the design-build firm, giving you fewer variables across the entire transformation

Riding Through Branch Transformation Phases


Every branch transformation is going to be different depending on the breadth and scope of the work involved, but the phases of branch transformation will6d cover remain similar whether you choose the design-bid-build or the design-build method.

You can see our full 6d guide here or read more for the summary of our 6d approach to design-build:

Phase 1: Discover

This is the inspirational part of your transformation journey, and it’s probably one of the most exciting parts since it’s where ideas come alive. As your FI identifies objectives and what to invest in, you’ll get the opportunity to establish a baseline for transformation and align an overall strategy and vision for the branch. You’re on the way up!

Involving your staff in this phase is important, but your FI will come out even further ahead if you gather opinions from community members about your branch. The results will help you understand your FI’s role in the community and where the competition lies.

Phase 2: Define

In this phase, your vision and strategy climb high as you determine your branch’s direction, timeline, budget, and future physical look. It’s still an exciting place to be, although a bit of nervousness tends to develop here as questions usually arise over budget and timelines. There can also be disagreement here over strategy alignment and branch design concepts.

To offset wary feelings, DBSI puts together a comprehensive transformation strategy for your FI that defines direction and provides critical details for the next stage of the transformation journey. 

Phase 3: Design

Once a strategy is in place, our experts will collaborate with you on designs according to specifications and needs. For many FIs, this is once again an exciting phase of branch transformation since details of proposed physical spaces, technology, timelines, and staff training become visible on paper.

This phase can be a reassuring place for stakeholders because DBSI uses best practices to solidify all strategy- and design-based decisions. From schedule, budget, and design recommendations to sign offs and approval, plans start to form, and the document phase begins.

FirstCU lobby

The impossible became possible when DBSI helped First Credit Union in Tempe, Arizona complete a full branch transformation in under four weeks—without interrupting business. Learn more about how the 6d process headlined this insanely fast live-in transformation here
Phase 4: Document

Having a design-build firm handling branch transformation is often beneficial in this phase since this is where bids and permits enter the picture. It can be a frustrating (even scary) part of the journey—but rest assured—your FI will not have to seek out the contractors or approach permitting agencies since these actions are the responsibility of the design-build firm.

In terms of progress, this is the final step in the design part of your project. It may be nerve-wracking here as bids come in and you wait for permits, but the building stage is right around the corner.

Phase 5: Deliver

Getting to the building phase can seem like forever, and it’s not uncommon to feel impatient about your FI’s timeline right now. Depending on how long the Discovery phase took, weeks may have already passed, and your stakeholders are likely anxious to get things moving. 

After final bidding and buy-out, mobilization, and construction time will vary depending on the project. But relax, because this is where DBSI provides a detailed construction schedule along with ongoing progress updates including photos, activities, and upcoming plans. In summary, we manage your project with the highest degree of transparency all the way through to your grand opening and beyond.

Phase 6: Debrief

You made it! Your branch transformation is finished and you’re probably feeling relieved that the ride is over. Plus, you’re feeling really happy about how smooth the transformation went and can’t wait to provide clients with an elevated experience in your new space!

During this phase, DBSI will check in with your FI post-construction and review the transformation project to create a consistent program for your future projects.

Amerant bank 

When Amerant Bank in Coral Gables, Florida needed to rebrand and refresh their branch network, they called on DBSI to lead the way. See the case study for this flagship location here. 


Ready to Start Your Transformation Journey? 


Embarking on a branch transformation can be quite a thrill ride, but choosing both a construction model and a trusted partner that match your anticipated needs can be the best way to make sure that your FI has a good experience. For a complimentary strategy session on branch transformation, please fill out our form here. 

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