One size doesn’t fit all. That’s why Eastern Bank reached out to Adrenaline. The regional financial institution needed to “right size” its branches to meet the changing needs of its market. We were tasked to reduce branch size, and thus bring down operating costs, without sacrificing customer experience or operating efficiency.
There were a few factors to consider when looking at Eastern Bank’s branch network. One, keeping in line with modern best practices, new branch designs supported the universal banker model. Two, Adrenaline needed to recommend, based on demographic studies, what locations would be the best candidates for pilot branches. Finally, using those studies and industry expertise, Adrenaline developed a plan for a complete network rollout once learnings were gleaned from the prototypes.
Based on the market evaluation, Adrenaline developed a strategy to produce four prototype branch formats: cashless, self-serve, micro and reduced-full-service.
Cashless—At 750 square feet, this branch relies on strong exterior branding and glass walls to open up the space and allow it to serve as a brand beacon. Technology and a closed office allow for flexibility and privacy.
Self-Serve—At 200 square feet, this extension of a branch remains open to customers 24 hours a day. Adrenaline branded the ITM with “Talk 2 Teller” to give the machine a friendly voice and make the technology simple for customers to adopt.
Micro—At 1,000 square feet, the micro branch is all about options and branding. A full-height, movable glass partition can be brought in to secure an after-hours space. There are self-service options, including ATMs and in-lobby ITMs. Transactions with a universal banker are handled at a teller pod, designed to provide space for quick services, as well as extended interactions in a comfortable, sit-down environment. There are fully enclosed glass offices and conference spaces, for when more privacy is required. The micro branch has a branded visual presence, 24 hours a day, with large digital displays for promotion and projection to prospective customers.
Reduced-Full-Service—Ranging from 2,123 to 4,279 square feet, this full-service branch was reduced by about 50 percent. This brought down operating costs and minimized the need for full time employees at the branch. Fully enclosed glass offices offer space for private consultation with visibility to the rest of the branch. The majority of interactions are handled at a transaction pod, designed for quick exchanges. There are also open-air, sit-down desks for account openings and other extended interactions.
As these prototypes were rolled out to Eastern Bank’s entire branch footprint, Adrenaline created a kit-of-parts of environmental elements that allow the bank to plan and budget branch conversions efficiently. For many sites, Adrenaline served as the architect of record. However, this is not a requirement due to our flexible business model, which allows us to partner with clients’ preferred vendors.
Successful branch redesign goes in two directions: forward to incorporate forces of change in retail banking, and backward to retrofit the existing branch network. For Eastern Bank, Adrenaline designed four iterations of an ideal branch experience and then executed a strategy to realize those designs within the bank’s existing franchise. The kit-of-parts sets up the bank to plan for future renovation projects and take advantage of economies of scale.
“At Eastern Bank, we have a practice of aligning our organization with thought leaders in their respective fields. This is why we selected Adrenaline as our strategic partner for branch format design, development and implementation.”