The business of banking has evolved over the past several decades, from institutions largely limited to making loans and taking deposits, to financial supermarkets that offer a range of banking, investment and insurance products. Not surprisingly, as banks began to serve customers in new ways, they also changed in appearance. Today, trends in bank design support a hotly competitive, retail-oriented industry with a focus on customer-friendly environments, cost-efficient operations and brand-driven design elements.
New design and construction elements demonstrate bank security
Today many banks are choosing to forego a thick brick and mortar style and teller cages that hold customers at arms length, for buildings designed to be accessible, efficient and customer-friendly. Even traditional bank facades, which may be favored by an older, more conservative customer base, can be designed with contemporary, innovative and green building materials that create inviting, but secure environments.
Cost-efficient, environmentally sound bank design a genuine asset
Because banks are businesses and must deliver a return to investors, cost- efficiency in design is a growing strategic necessity. With the price of traditional construction materials on the rise, new solutions such as pre-engineered systems and exterior building facades, modular interior design elements and other construction efficiencies save on costs and maintenance.
Marketing-focused design draws customers to new products, services
Competition within the financial services industry has shaped the objectives of bank design today: Bring customers in the door, and engage them in the retail-oriented environment. Dynamic way-finding signage directs customers to financial products and services, while minimizing confusion and lines. Kiosks and video displays deliver marketing and educational materials and messages.
Modular furniture and space dividers help ensure customer privacy and personal attention.
Branch bank design spotlights corporate branding
Walk into a branch of most large commercial banks and youll be surrounded by representations of that corporations brand. Customers expect to see the faade, logo, colors, interior dcor, products and other elements of corporate sameness, and banks depend on that familiarity to build brand loyalty. And while freestanding branches prevail, more national and regional banks are favoring modular or in-store financial centers to sharpen their retail-oriented competitive edge.
Smaller banks opt for design that reflects local community, culture
In creating their own brands, many independent banks draw from the communities they serve for customized design themes that help build long-term customer relationships. Geography and community culture often drive bank faade and interior decor choices. Options include a maritime theme for a bank that serves a costal community, or a welcoming lodge design that complements a mountain or outdoor recreation location. Some banks also have drawn theme elements from a customer base that shares a strong cultural heritage.
Bank design that reflects customer demographics
Today progressive banks are using design elements to identify and leverage customer differences. Banks that serve high numbers of young families may add a play area for the children of busy parents. Another institution with a customer base of seniors may offer amenities that appeal to the social needs of that demographic group, including TV screens, newspapers, coffee, comfortable seating and meeting areas. Professional and business customers, for whom time is a key issue, may value streamlined interior design that helps shorten lines, speed transactions, segment merchant and customer business and identify products and services.